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.
By Janice Harder Regier with Don Regier