by Trent Rosser
We recently relocated to the other side of town. We moved the entire contents of our home within a week by moving just a bit at a time. Plus (as the Beatles once said), we had “a little help from our friends”. Most of the time it was just my wife and myself, loading the old Tahoe and making 1 or 2 trips a night after I get off work at 7 pm. It took a while, but we got it done. We moved into a trailer house, in an old trailer park on the edge of town. The ironic part of the whole situation is that we moved right next door to where an old friend once lived. It was at his place that I realized; I just might be a redneck after all.
Now, of course, this story has to do with a lot of alcoholic beverages and NASCAR, some more alcohol beverages, oh and even more alcoholic beverages. If there was any kind of qualifications to be a full blood redneck, alcohol and NASCAR would be a prerequisite. This was about 11 or 12 years ago and I had an old beat up 1979 dodge sportsman. It is a very large van. Take the normal 70 model luxury van and add about another 2 feet to the back. I actually bought it from a church and it still had the church stickers on the back of the van. All my friends said I drove the church bus and when I showed up they would all start singing “the wheels on the bus go round and round”. It looked horrible on the outside, but the inside was nice. Captain chairs in the front and 3 rows of seats in the back. The first row could flip completely around and a small table would pull out of the side of the van. Or you could lay it down flat, lay the second row down flat and have a king size bed!
So, one Sunday, after watching NASCAR and drinking lots of beer, we decided to cook out. The flies and heat were unbearable inside the trailer and there was a small breeze outside. So we all went out and played Texas hold ‘em in the “church bus”. Well, we got a little lazy also so I backed the van up to the grill in the back yard threw open the side doors and let a little breeze flow through. Every now and then someone would be walking by and see an arm stick out of the van, flip a burger on the grill and stick the hand back in. Of course it stated getting hot in there also so this is where the redneck comes in. The smart thing to do would to go inside and just deal with the flies and the heat. The 250 pound swamp cooler was not doing a very good job on a 2 bedroom trailer, so we wondered how it would do on….um… Let's say a … 1979 dodge van!!! That is right. We opened the back door, loaded the swamp cooler up, had an extension cord running to the trailer house and were cooling off in a vehicle while playing cards and grilling burgers. If that ain't redneck, I don’t know what is!
So now I am living in a home that is directly next door where that happened. So I started to think about that old van. I actually wouldn’t mind having that old thing back. I don’t care how many people would make fun of me. I sold it to another church and the last time I saw it, they were using it to help feed the homeless. I hope that they are still using it for that, if it is still running.
Now here is something else you can try to wrap your mind around. The year is 1992 and you hear a strange sound coming up. It is the new fad of boom boxes in vehicles and you recognize the music as Metallica singing “ Master of Puppets”, instead of a sports car pulling up next to you at the stop light, you see a young man with a black felt cowboy hat banging his head to the music in a …. 1969 Volkswagen Baja bug. Yes *bowing my head in shame* I had a pretty purple Baja bug with a silver strip right down the middle. No fenders, no engine hood in the back, with the loud pipes and loud music blaring out the window with a cut offbutton down shirt and a black cowboy hat. It was loud, and I’m not talking about the engine noise, I’m talking about the paint job. I will say this, it was a head turner! I am sure I put at least 100,000 miles on the first engine. Yes, I did have to replace the engine. Every police officer in the city of Canyon knew who drove that damn bug. I am sure that’s what they called it. There were about 3 of us that had the Baja bugs in town. I am sure I am a little prejudice but I believe mine was the best looking.
Last but certainly not least…. The 4 door 1974 Datsun. It was old, beat up and copper color. The only gauge that worked was the gas gauge. I took it everywhere also. I was still in school when I owned this one and bought it off one of my school friends. Half of the teeth were missing from the flywheel so if it would not start, you had to put it in gear and push it a little bit to get the flywheel to move. Believe it or not it is not as light as you think they are when you have a broken collar bone and you are trying to push it in gear! Before I bought it off a friend, some of the other guys from school picked it up from the parking spot it was in and moved it to the other side of the school as a particle joke. The ball on the gear shift was broken and when you had to shift quickly you always felt as you were going to stab your hand. Now here is the kicker, it had no muffler. It was very loud. It sounded like a herd of dirt bikes trapped in an elevator. I remember trying to order from Sonic and the carhop girl came out to ask to kill the car so they could hear the other customer’s orders. No shocks and doing about 50 mph down the dirt roads outside of Canyon would leave everyone with bruises. There were a lot of good times with old school friends in this old car.
This past week after we finished moving to the new place, we bought a new extended cab pickup, well not brand new, but new to us. So next week, if it is still nice outside, and the yard gets mowed, I am going to start up the old grill, put some blankets in the back of the truck and have a cookout and play some cards with my wife. Does anyone know where I can get a swamp cooler?