Saturday, January 21, 2006


Ernest Simpson

Dan’s story of he and Elois after the Rainbow and Demolay soiree jogged a slight memory for me, also of Elois. We all must have been not much older than fourteen, and not yet to the ‘serious’ having dates as yet, but Dan and I were both fortunate to have parents who were understanding of a young man’s need for transportation that would create a sense of independence, however limited in our knowledge of what that meant in terms of responsibility.

Dad had come home with a ’52 GMC deluxe cab with only 1, 100 miles, and we had a great family celebration, since this was the newest and greatest truck in White county, I believed. Dad was good to let me take it to the edge of town, or ‘you can park it at Uncle Hubert’s’ (Hubert Coward, Jeanette Weir’s father, all kinfolk) What, me park at Uncle Huberts? No way! Sometime during this, I was allowed to call on Elois to take to a movie, and was thrilled to take her in the GMC. She still remembers the truck, if you ask her.

At the appropriate time, and appropriate movie at the Rialto, I asked her to go. I always met her at the door; her mom, Valena, and her dad, Hodge, were great folks and always invited me in and seemed glad to see me when I came around.

We headed out to the movie, only a couple of blocks from their house, and I parked on the right side of the street heading south beside the Rialto.

The movie was fine and when it was over, I thought maybe we could go by the Dairy Queen or the Pit on East Race. But I got a little surprise, in the way of the oldest practical joke known to teen-agers of that day.

Someone, I think I know who, had simply raised the hood of the truck, urinated in a can or container, and poured the contents over the exhaust manifold. In those years, there were no inside latches for the vehicles, and it was easy to get access to the engine.

I cranked the truck up, and made one pass around the court square, when the engine came up to operating temperature, so did the odor inside the truck. I knew instantly what it was, but what do you do? I didn’t say anything, except turn beet red, and mouth a few choice words under my breath. Elois acted like nothing was going on, which I appreciated, but what would a well-mannered young lady say? So, we drove around until the awful smell was gone, and nothing was mentioned about it. I often wondered and wanted to bring up the subject in later years, but never did.

Little things on our way to full blown adolescence come to mind every once in a while, so maybe the mind isn’t going as fast as we think it is at times. As we approach our 70th birthday in a few years, perhaps other little tidbits will cross our paths in memory.

Tom Pry

Ern, our ladies, when we were young, put up with an awful lot from us, especially where transportation was concerned. My very first date at SHS was the opportunity to escort Mary Kathryn VP to a joint FHA/FFA bash at the Legion Hut. The only vehicle I had was my grandfather’s two-ton truck (a ’46, at that). Mary Kathryn acted as if she were being escorted out to a Mercedes limo.

That, boys and girls, is Class.

Besides, Ernie, it could’ve been worse. I remember a nostalgia piece in Reader’s Digest many, many moons ago, a guy telling of how, when he was a young boy, he took a really serious dislike to the young man who was “sparkin’” his older sister. This dislike grew even more intense when the young man got a brand spanking new Ford A model. To fight back, the kid snuck out one night while the young man was in the house, and poured skunk oil over the exhaust manifold. Skunk oil is exactly what it sounds like.

For the rest of the winter, the young man had to do his driving with windows open. The skunk oil had soaked into the soft cast iron of the manifold and would not disappear – and, as he learned later, every penny his sister’s suitor had was tied up in that car, and he literally couldn’t afford to replace the manifold.

He said that, in later years, he occasionally felt guilty about doing that … but not too much.

Count your blessings, lad.


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