Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Dodge Maccabee?

Seen in the parking lot at the Independence Day BBQ/Spelling Bee/Three-Legged Race Celebration in Independence, CA.

A 1915 Horseless Carriage, manufactured by the up-and-coming Dodge Brothers who were determined to offer a luxurious alternative to the Model T. This shiny black model was meticulously restored. Everything about it was in mint condition. The leather on the seats smelled brand new. The tires looked they had less than 5 miles on them. And the burled wood on the steering wheel was perfectly burled. Or however you would describe wood that looked like it was fine furniture.

But what I found most interesting on this classic, nearly century old machine was right under the hood ornament.

You don't see many Jewish stars in Independence, California. And you certainly don't expect to see one on the hood of a collector car.

So what gives, you may ask.
OK, I asked.

One theory is that the Dodge Brothers, two gentile engineers from the Midwest, had no idea the 6-pointed star was also a symbol of Judaism. I'm not buying that. These good old boys from farms where the corn grows as high as an elephant's eye know all about the Tribe. So much so that Oklahoma State Senator Dennis Johnson shows us how that knowledge has entered the cultural vernacular.

Another theory states the two triangles are actually interlocking triangles, or Delta's from the Greek Alphabet, representing D's. That seems plausible.

Also, Freemasonry was very popular at the turn of the 19th century, particularly among the wealthy and powerful. There's speculation that the symbol could be an abstraction of the Freemason's T-square and compass.

Finally, some suggest the Dodge Brothers were thumbing their nose at their former business partner Henry Ford, a man who let's just say probably didn't sit in on many seder dinners at Passover time.

In an attempt to solve the mystery, I tracked down the owner of the Horseless Carriage. He might have had the best answer of all.

"Hell, I don't know. I never even noticed that. Say, aren't you the fellow who just lost the Spelling Bee?  
Mattress, M-A-T-T-R-E-S-S, mattress."

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