I went to Hannaford at 8:30 p.m. last Wednesday.

Not late for me, but late enough for the parking lot to be almost completely empty.

There I saw an eerie sight. Way away from the store, parked under the light, was something like what you would see in a movie: an old 1930 Ford Model A, solitary in the night.

I walked over to it and squinted to get a good look. After a while I was able to gather some idea of what kind of state this old-timer was in.

After the first walk around, I could determine it was an old survivor car. Not original paint but a well-worn repaint done long ago.

It was green with black fenders and big lantern headlights with tasteful cowl lights. The wire wheels had shiny black paint with proper reproduction tires. An ancient and correct 1931 Maine license plate was fastened to the front.

I have had an automobile obsession my whole life. It was not until this past spring that I drove a Ford Model A for myself. The good Captain Dan Pease let me drive his Model A on a beautiful sunny spring day in Camden. We drove it on Molyneaux Road.

I drove it back into town and down the Washington Street hill VERY CAREFULLY. Model A’s do not have hydraulic brakes. It is like using your emergency brake. Also, the gears on a Model A are not synchronized. Downshifting is a hair-raising event, even when double-clutching.

I digress.

So back to Hannaford. I walked into the store with my eye out for humans who looked like Model A owners. Of the three other beings in the store (who were not store employees), I found no one matching that description.

By the time I left the store, the old Ford had disappeared into mist. As I stood there, I imagined this time travel scenario:

A nice young couple was driving their new Ford from Thomaston to Rockland at 8:30 at night on a late October evening, 1930. As they passed the intersection on North Main Street, Broadway turned into Birch Street and 1930 became 2022.

The young man remarked the road had become very smooth and was covered with a hard black surface. His wife noted a field of lights high up on metal poles.

As they drove on, they saw a building as big as a barn with windows along the front. They parked the new car under a light, made their way inside and discovered a grocery store that was open at night! They had never seen a grocery store so big and with so much!

Near the back of the store was a very large tank fed by saltwater.

Inside, a 15-pound lobster with barnacles on his claws appeared to be looking the couple over. They gathered up a few items then left.

As they drove back home, they passed the intersection of North Main Street and the road turned to dirt. The car radio came back on, and the Boston radio station was playing “Easy to Love” by Billie Holiday.

I got back into my truck and drove home. At the intersection of North Main Street, where Birch Street becomes Broadway, I thought about what it would have been like back in 1930.

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

1931 Ford Model A. Photo by Glenn Billington