The new falcon herald logo.
General Articles

The rural ride

Laughter and shrieking came alternately from outside. I fairly flew, banging out the screen door to see what was the matter. There was my sweetie in our old rattletrap car, bouncing and flailing around in the front seat. Old cars are not known for their tight sealing doors, and hundreds of miller moths had figured ours was a great place to hide out after a night of whatever it is miller moths do.My bride had just started the engine and the millers, roused from their slumber, came boiling out from under the dash in gusts of hundreds! The moths swooped and dived into the first dark place they could find – the lower end of my wife’s jumper. She was screaming and laughing and shaking the moths as they were passing through and out the neck hole of her dress! I tried to be sympathetic but my red face, teary eyes and helpless, uncontrollable guffaws at the ridiculous scene were not convincing, apparently. “We need a new car!” she hissed, composure regained. But then the ridiculousness of it all would overcome her and she and I would start laughing all over again.In the city, people drive cars that make a statement about themselves. We rural folks have cars that make a statement, too. That statement would be, “I’m not walking.” Out here cars are practical. They’re carpool buses for those with jobs in town, or they’re pressed into service as pickup trucks, livestock haulers or tow trucks.From lacy red rust rocker panels to alligator rough roof paint, country cars have a lot of heart. They seem to just run and run. Perhaps it’s out of fear, what with their predecessor doing duty as a chicken coop out back. Or maybe it’s the automotive rumors of an esteemed Studebaker ancestor buried deep underground, serving as a septic tank that keeps these veterans on the road. Country cars know that the junkyard is never far away. In fact, the junkyard is as close as the backyard or with really tacky neighbors, the front yard!What a tough life our cars have. Washboard dirt roads shake nuts and screws out of engines and gas out of the car’s occupants. Dirt roads mean that the car is always in want of a bath, too. The time to wash the car is when your town friends ask how the beige Oldsmobile is running. You reply that it’s running fine, thank you, and it is white.Our old penny-pinching friend, farmer Dave, is stout, broad shouldered and always in bib overalls. We all appreciate the bib overalls whenever Dave has to bend way down, to pick up a nickel, say, or to check for leaks under the front end of his country car. No need to open the hood. Just look underneath. No large and slowly expanding pools of fluid? She’s good to go! Dave was upset recently, and with typical understatement, told us of a bad day he had with his old car. “I was driving home from town and hit a turkey! The dang thing destroyed my steering gear and bent up the suspension pretty bad. Almost had to have the car towed.””Wow, that’s rather a lot of damage from hitting a turkey, isn’t it?””It was a frozen turkey! Musta fallen out of someone’s pickup. Like hitting a rock! Danged roads. What’s with the county, anyway?””Ahhh…” (In the country you learn to ask questions, or people, especially farmers and cowboys, may not give you the whole story. They’re as frugal with words as they are with everything else.)Country teenagers brag on their cars a little differently than their city counterparts do. In town, chrome wheels and “killer stereos” are the stuff of bragging rights. Out here a kid brags about more basic things, as in, “Yea, well maybe we can see through the floorboards, but hey, at least my car has oil pressure!” Rural kids actually learn how cars work because they have to; it’s self preservation. The shoe leather express is pretty tedious when one has 30 miles to cover.Country drivers stick together. Should you overheat, chances are the driver behind you has a couple of water jugs in his country car for just such an emergency. Most of us have rope-in-the-trunk towing insurance, too. Once a woman’s hood flew open on US 24. Like a pilot in a cloud bank, suddenly that lady was “driving on instruments.” Out here, sharing help and a little baling wire in such situations is routine. Lifelong friendships can form and be held together with a bit of baling wire.Country cars have a habit of breeding other country cars. When your city friends see what you drive, they say, “You know, I have an ’81 Datsun. My apartment manager says I’ve got too many vehicles. Would you like to have that Datsun? It’s all yours, but I’m keeping the battery. That battery is worth $30, you know.”Don’t tell the wife – she’ll squawk. Sneak this new addition in on tip – tire under cover of darkness. Park it behind the barn (and remember to put the borrowed battery back into her car), and when she finally notices say, “Oh, that car. Had that one awhile now, don’t you remember?”While not straight in body work, such cars are straightforward. They’re about transportation. About less time at the job and more time with other things, like the family, the land and your friends. The miles on the odometer are far beyond cause for concern. After 250,000 or so, the attitude is, “She doesn’t owe me anything.” Life is short. How much of it do you want to spend earning a lifetime of car payments? Think that over and don’t make fun – or I’ll park reeeal close to your Porsche at Safeway!Tom

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers