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The Adventures of the 1950 Chevy pickup

Sarah S HeadshotI have to admit that on a daily basis I have disparaging remarks about today’s youth. For the most part those remarks are not unfounded. Our home is on the route to the local hangout, so we get litter and cigarette butts thrown in the lawn, driveway and flowerbeds. I have to listen to their vulgar language over my back fence. And I watch them destroy public property. Today, however, I had a completely different experience. 

My in-laws have a 1950 Chevy pickup that Hubby, Little Man and I were going to take for a ride. To be honest I wasn’t really into it this morning. I’ve pushed it more than once. I’ve towed in more than once and something always falls apart. It’s an adventure every time we take it out and I just couldn’t get myself in the mood for that kind of an adventure.


We went to my in-laws to get the pickup and it wouldn’t start. Come to find out when they put a new light bulb in the dash, they knocked a wire loose that went to the key switch. An easy fix, once it was traced down. 

About 20 miles into the drive it started to rain, so Hubby turned on the windshield wipers. We’ve had problems with the windshield wipers on previous occasions, so I admonished him that it wasn’t raining that bad and to turn them off. I was thinking we ought to save the little amount that they were going to work for when we really needed them. He turned the switch, but the wipers wouldn’t turn off. They did this sort of jerky delay-thing baaa-aaack and forth, baaa-aaaack and forth.  Then they stopped in the middle of the window and then they went faster than I thought 1950 style wipers could go. And then… one of the wipers flew off completely.  Of course we were on a winding road with no wide spots, so we had keep going until we found a spot to turn around and come back. Sure enough there it was in the middle of the road – thankfully unscathed. 

I was hoping that was the end of the adventure. But that would have been too easy. 

About ten more miles down the road the pickup started this shuddery thing.  Both Hubby and I were thinking through the potential issues as we continued down the road. It wasn’t until he slowed down to turn that we recognized it as a tire issue. Sure enough, the front passenger tire was missing two lug nuts and the remaining ones were loose enough to tighten by hand. After a quick appraisal of the tool situation we determined that an air pressure gauge and a Phillips head screw driver were not going to help us out. Hubby tightened the remaining lug nuts as best he could and we headed the shortest route home.  

About a mile down the road we pulled in a driveway and borrowed a wrench to tighten the two lug nuts that remained and stole two off another tire to hopefully get us home. The problem being that we didn’t have a jack to lift the pickup up to fully tighten the nuts. Another mile down the road and I heard a rattle and we stopped to survey the situation again. We were again down to two lug nuts and one of the studs was completely missing. 

It was at this point that it became obvious that we were not going to make it the 10-15 miles back home with this tire. (Some of you are thinking we were a bit slow in this observation – I prefer to call it optimism.) At this point Hubby called his parents to see if they could bring a trailer. While he was on the phone a teenager in a 70-something Ford pickup stopped and asked if he could help. Hubby borrowed a wrench and tried to tighten the lug nuts only to find the studs weren’t staying in. The kid asked where we lived. When he found out it wasn’t very far away, he went home got a trailer, we loaded the pickup on it and the three of us piled in the cab with our rescuer.  

He turned the key on his pickup and it wouldn’t start.  I really wanted to laugh and cry at that moment, but I refrained because I was afraid that he would change his mind about the sanity of the random strangers he’d picked up alongside the road. It turned out to be a relatively quick fix, he grabbed his screw driver and crawled under the pickup (in the middle of the road) and used it to short something  (cause he yelled when it shocked him) and the pickup started. Then he delivered us safe and sound to our house. 

Later, Hubby, Little Man and I had to take our ’87 Blazer (which is notoriously unreliable) to retrieve our pickup from the in-laws’.  Generally we don’t drive the Blazer on the freeway (a precautionary measure).  As Hubby pulled onto the on-ramp of the freeway, Little Man reminded him of the no Blazer on the freeway rule. I told Hubby it didn’t matter, ‘cause if the Blazer broke down I was walking. Little Man didn’t hear, so Hubby repeated for his benefit, “Momma said she was walking home if we broke down on the freeway.” 

I said I was walking – I didn’t say anything about home…