Back in 2002 when Forrest and I were in our second year of marriage, we decided to bring my dad’s 1953 Chevy Deluxe to Oklahoma so that we could give her some much-needed attention. Old Blue could still crank up and run back then, but she needed an overhaul for sure. I was quite proud to have Old Blue, as she was the vehicle I remembered most from my youth. Old Blue transported me and most of my siblings home from the hospital after we were born. And many sibling fights and arguments that ensued as we all grew up together, took place in her big, back seat. Old Blue did a fine job of transporting a growing family back in the 1960’s. Ultimately, Dad ran her until the late 1970’s, when he retired her to the quonset on my grandparent’s farm. Even then, Dad started her up every year and ran her around for a week or two to keep the seals lubricated. And then back in storage she went. Before Dad passed away, I told him I would like to have Old Blue someday. I think he needed to know that someone in the family would give it a good home, and FD and I had high intentions of fixing her up to take Sunday drives. Both of us love antique cars, so we thought about showing her off in parades and car shows. We also planned to fix up his granddad’s 1958 Morris Minor someday.
But after some initial work to get her running again, Old Blue ended up in the far corner of our metal barn awaiting a new fuel tank, eventually becoming covered in dust from years of storage. I felt somehow I had let her down, and had let my dad down. I had brought her out here and put a couple thousand dollars into her, only to let her sit for fifteen years. The work required to get her back on the road, had not really begun. It had been difficult to find people to work on an old vehicle, and those that we had found to help us were men with regular day jobs, so they worked on her when they had spare time in the evenings. Needless to say, the project to restore her had not come together very well over the years.
And now, push had come to shove with storage building space. Life had changed for FD and me with the purchase of the adjoining pecan orchard property. We needed room to store milled pecan wood and farm implements. A bigger building would have been nice at this point, and constructing another storage shed was out of the question. Finances would not allow it at this time. So I made the decision that Old Blue would have to go back to the farm in Nebraska. Thankfully, my nephew had agreed to take her and fix her up when he had time. His dad, my brother Dale, said he could store it in one of his garages at the farm where Old Blue had originally been stored.
And because I had been simplifying life in our home and on our property over the winter months, I decided to let go of a few antique items in the house as well. I had enjoyed these family heirlooms for many years, but it was time to take them back to family members who might also enjoy them and then pass them onto their kids. For the past couple of years, I had already been asking nieces and nephews about items and furniture they might like to have. Other items that I no longer used were offered to friends or went to Goodwill. Actually, it felt good to unloose myself of unnecessary items that simply took up space and were no longer needed. And by the time we loaded up the truck bed and tool box, and hooked up the car trailer transporting Old Blue, we looked a bit like the Clampett family from “The Beverly Hillbillies“. To complicate everything, rain was forecast for the entire trip, so everything on the truck bed would have to be covered with a tarp.
FD gave Old Blue a rinse off before heading down the road. She was beautiful and shiny in the Oklahoma sunlight that morning that we set off. Each time we stopped to check trailer tires and straps, or fuel up the truck, Old Blue got plenty of looks and comments. One particular gentleman, knew exactly what year and model she was. Some of the older fellas we ran into, reminisced about vehicles they had back in the 1950’s and 60’s. Heads turned as we passed people heading north on I-35 and highway 81. Then rain began to spatter down in Kansas as we neared the Nebraska border, while the temperature had dropped nearly thirty degrees since we left our home in Oklahoma. When we reached my sister Juli’s place where we would be staying, the rain was coming down steadily, so FD and Chris quickly unloaded the goods from the truck bed and tool box. But Old Blue spent the night on the trailer in the cold Nebraska wind and rain. Even with the foul weather, I wondered if Old Blue might have actually been happy that she was back in her old running territory.
Rain showered down from low-hanging clouds for most of the following morning after we pulled into my brother’s place, and no one wanted to get out in the chilly rain to unload the car. So Old Blue sat out there patiently waiting. Finally, there was a break in the downpour and, in a light drizzle, we donned coats and FD and I got to work unstrapping her while my brother attached the ramps to the rear of the trailer. After the ramps were set and straps undone, FD and Dale stepped away from the trailer briefly to discuss the best way to unload the car, while I stood alongside Old Blue with my hand resting on the rear fender of the driver’s side. While they talked over the game plan, I was thinking of my Dad and reminiscing about the old days, when I felt the car moving slowly beneath my hand. Before I could manage much of a scream, Old Blue was building speed, and rolling straight back off of the trailer on her own! Had it not been for FD running to the rear of the car to help me slow her down, she would have crashed into my brother’s new garage! Later, we realized we had left the car in neutral after loading it, and completely forgotten to put her in gear or set the parking break.
Looking back, we all thought Dad would have had a good chuckle about the way things went unloading Old Blue. And I still think it is mighty strange how Old Blue managed to unload herself from that trailer. Maybe it was the spirit of Dad finding a way of showing us not to over-think a problem but, when “push comes to shove”, just get after it and get it done. After all, Dad never was one to dally around when there was a job to do…
© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…