It started when I was trashing a perfectly good toy car to add to my miniature McSwine farm.
“No, no, no, Dad!” protested my son Brent. “Don’t just take pictures of your miniature stuff. Tell the story!”
Duh. Of course. That’s how “McSwine Flu—the Movie” came about. And that’s how a classic 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe ended up as a chicken coop at the Texas State Fair. A first-place winner in the adult scale models category!
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I grew up in a Chevy family. Second-hand Chevys. When Jan and I had the opportunity to buy our first new car, I broke the pattern and decided to buy a new Ford Mustang. “Could we go look at the Chevys one more time?” my Dad pleaded. But I was hooked. And so began a love affair . . .
It’s a new 1936 Chevy that my parents received as an engagement present! That business coupe had only one seat, but when our family outgrew it, Daddy created a perch out of the package panel and an old cushion that he pushed in through the trunk. So my brother and I rode sideways from the Kansas farm to my uncle and aunt’s wedding in North Dakota. I borrowed a match book from one of the motels, and when I lit a match along the way I burned my finger. Daddy said, “Somebody’s burning stubble around here.”
That car served our family well, but it also performed all the duties of a farm truck. That’s why it took on the aroma of freshly-ground cattle feed. After he filled up the trunk and the interior with feed bags, Daddy would stack more bags on the front fenders. The headlights kept the bags from falling off in case of a sudden stop.
Everything changed on the day when Daddy drove onto the farm in a brand new 1948 International farm truck. Memories wash over me when I think of that truck. I catch a whiff of fresh maroon paint. Between my bare toes I feel the squish of a truck load of newly-harvested wheat. I taste the wheat kernels that turned into chewing gum.
When my brother and I rode on the 16’ flat bed we sat safely behind the cab. But when our family drove the five miles to church in town, we all crowded into the cab of the International. The truck was too big for the church parking lot, so we parallel-parked down the street by the hospital.
In those days we figured out how to make things work, even if it meant using the car as a truck or using the truck as a car.
Fifty years ago today at 3:30pm CDT, Jan and I arrived in Dallas, not even knowing where to find Dallas Seminary. We took a wild guess, hung a left on Commerce Street, and ended up 2 blocks from Swiss Avenue.
We met Joel Andrus, second year student, on the steps of Mosher Library. He graciously took us home for supper, and we probably gave Joel and Donna our hacking cough.
Stayed 2 or 3 nights at the Lawnview Motel on Thornton Fwy (sign is still there, $6/couple at that time), and found hair in the bed. Rented #306 in the Gaylord Apartments for $45 plus $12/month for electricity to run our window unit which we bought for $40 from Millionaire on Ross.
Tuition was $10/hr, and we got down to our last $10 before Jan got her Texas Cosmetologist’s license.
We are so grateful for God’s hand in bringing us here to DTS. It changed our lives. And that’s what I want to tell new students at Dallas Theological Seminary.