Although this entry is about Christmas memories, it’s really about a truck, since that’s what I remember. This picture was taken December 25, 1960, which of course is fifty years ago, today. How cool is that? And, yes, that’s me.
This is the truck, an old Harvester-International, that:
When I was a toddler, I took a crescent wrench and worked over the passenger side roll up window. Dad never got the window fixed, but although it was shattered, it still kept the wind out. They really knew how to make safety glass back then.
I was standing in the seat when Dad decided to see how fast it would go. He got up to 85 MPH, entering Longview, Texas on Alpine road. I remember it vividly, because Dad was driving, I was standing up in the seat next to him, and our neighbor Junior was in the passenger seat. Dad asked Junior, “You want to see how fast it’ll go?”, and it got real quiet as they watched the speedometer rise.
Not too long after this picture was taken, Dad used lye and a couple of brooms, removed ALL the paint, and repainted the truck a weird glossy turquoise green color. He definitely had a unique pickup truck.
Eventually, Dad was ready for an upgrade, so he bought another truck. He gave this truck away to an old black man, named Mance, who was a friend and sometimes employee of my Dad’s. I don’t recall Mance’s last name.
That brings to mind a whole new string of memories. Mance was the only person I ever shot. I shot him in the upper arm, entirely by accident, with my Daisy BB gun, one day when he was helping my Dad with a project bricking up the bottom half of our house. Of course I was severely punished; Dad made me sit and shoot ALL of my BB ammo into the field, wasting it. We’re talking probably 500 BB’s here; it took a while, and it was a while before I got some more ammo, too.
After I was an adult, I came home one day, and Dad was sitting in his truck, drinking – and crying. The crying part was pretty unusual; I asked him what was wrong. He told me that Mance had passed away. Dad was really upset – but he wouldn’t go to the funeral because Mance was black. That’s the way it was, then. Odd to think about it now. Was that prejudice? Dad loved that old man; he would have given him the shirt off his back; yet he wouldn’t go to his funeral.
Wow, I’ve wandered far afield, here.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
P.S. The bear’s name was Ernest.
P.P.S. I still dress like that. Some things never change!