TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
  Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :

OUR BUICK PICKUP TRUCK

by George Lester
George Lester
The oil boom in west Texas played out in the thirties, so many people started migrating back east again. My father was one of them. He had run a successful rig building business, but now there was not much need for his services. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, he cut his losses and sought a new way of keeping food on the table. He took what money he had managed to save and bought a farm near Lorena, Texas.

When we first set up housekeeping at our new home, the place looked like a used car lot. In order to take each rig building crew to the location, my dad had had to furnish the transportation. As a result, we now had five cars parked out front. Three of the vehicles were divided among the older siblings who had already left the nest. That left us with two big four-door convertible Buick roadsters, one red and one yellow. I don't remember what happened to the yellow one, but the red one was in for quite a remodeling.

One day I came home from school and found my father busy with a welding torch. I had always loved that red Buick. I thought it was the most beautiful machine in the world. Now the entire rear end had been cut away, exposing the bare chassis underneath. I cried real tears when I saw what he had done. Dad informed this six-year-old that we needed a truck, and he was making one out of the Buick. I couldn't look. I ran into the house to get away from that awful sight. When the reconstruction job was finished, Dad was proud of his hybrid truck, and he drove it everywhere. I didn't share his enthusiasm. It was as if a member of the family had been morphed into some kind of monster.


This strange vehicle never failed to attract attention wherever it went. A wooden bed had been bolted to the frame, and everything was open and bare behind the front seat. In those days all cars had running boards, so my dad put sideboards on the outside to form a trough for carrying things. When we moved to Spunky Flat, the Buick was often used to tow a trailer full of cotton to the gin. On each trip cottonseeds would spill into the running board troughs. Before long we had cotton plants growing on either side of the Buick. Once we drove it to Louisiana to visit relatives. The muffler and tailpipe had rusted out, and even the manifold was gone. As we drove down the highway, livestock would run to the other side of the pasture, and people would stop in their tracks and stare at this loud, cotton-plant-bearing vehicle. The noise signaled our arrival a mile ahead. There was no room for Sam and me up front, so we hung on for dear life in the back.

Nothing lasts forever, and the old Buick finally gasped its last breath and died. Our next car was a Plymouth four-door sedan. I was elated to finally have a real car in the family.


When I returned home from the service after World War II, Dad was there to meet the train in that old Plymouth. We had not seen each other in three years, and he was completely overcome with emotion. I saw him walk toward me, take a few steps, then stop and bend over, laughing and crying at the same. He did this several times before we embraced. After we both calmed down a bit, I followed him to the car for the trip home where Mama would arrive soon from her job. As we approached the Plymouth, I finally got a good look at it. Except for some minor differences, it had received the same transformation as the Buick had years before.

Dad has been gone for over a half century now. I keep thinking he is probably up there somewhere, happily working away with a welding torch.

George Lester

Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir
3-21-2004 column
 
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: June 3, 2007