Learning to Drive a Stick Shift


Rosedale GardenGrowing up Dad had a big old white Chevy truck that he used to haul cattle with. It also had a dump bed that he would haul silage from the field and dump in a pit behind the hay barn. The side boards would also come off for hauling hay. It was a five-speed straight shift, with a reverse and neutral settings. Plus, it had another little knob on the side of the stick shift with a cable running down through the floor board, that I never learned what it was for.

I seem to remember Dad using it to gear down on hills, but my memory is foggy on that one. We would ride over to Corinth, Mississippi to the cotton gin there to pick up a truck load of cotton seed hulls and cotton seed meal to feed the cows as they were being milked. We had a tie stall system then, sixteen on each side of the barn, with their heads locked in. A trough ran down in front of them for feeding.

We would walk in front to drag buckets of hulls from the feed room on each side, add a scoop of meal. Then we would go get a bucket of molasses from a 50-gallon metal barrel that was out in full sun and pour over the hulls and meal piled in front of each cow.



Before we left for Corinth, Dad use to say before every trip to take an extra pair of underwear with us. The road back then was two lanes, and full of hills. Dad used to pass on curves and hills all the way over and back.

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