It really will be fall soon. Things in life go faster and faster it seems in my life than it did when I was kid. Especially waiting for things to roll around like turning 16 so I could get my license. After school and on weekends I worked on Milky Way Hereford Ranch up on Camelback Road in north Phoenix where there is a big shopping mall now. When I was a boy lots of farm kids drove vehicles starting at age 12. A buddy of mine drove to the license bureau in west Phoenix and got a beginner permit for his folks to fill out. The man said he had to have this filled out and passed before he could drive a car legally. Gene said, “Oh yes, I know that.” He did too, got in the old family car by himself and drove it back home.
When I was driving back and forth from the Milky Way Hereford Ranch to the Scottsdale place, mother asked me if they knew I didn’t have a driver’s license. I put my finger to my lip. “Don’t tell them. I don’t have to get out and open those dang gates either. I let the cowboys do that.”
The first old car I owned I used my high school graduation money to buy. It was a pre World War II four-door Plymouth. You put in $3 of gas at $0.25 cents a gallon in the tank and pumped up a quart of some bulk oil in the spout can to put in the crankcase. I had a patch kit, tire tools, an air pump and a jack to change and repair the sorry tires. But it was a car and I could date in it, though I later had a Model A Ford coupe, which a girl refused to go on a date with me in. She saw it turned around and went back in the house when I drove up.
Her mother was laughing, said she loved that old car because her husband had one when they dated. The girl never came out to talk to me. So I went on. Her loss not mine, but some of my buddies also laughed when they heard about her refusal.
I later had a Willy’s Jeep station wagon like they advertised on Maverick so my fraternity brothers called it Maverick. It had a four-cylinder engine and wouldn’t go much faster than 35 mph going up mountains on the Interstates. I was going to drive it over to LA to attend a wedding of my friends. One of my mining buddies traded me his Buick hardtop because he thought I’d get run over. After I went over there and got in that wild traffic I was sure grateful I had that big Buick.
I recall the first car I drove that had air conditioning in it. It belonged to a golf pro I worked for after school. It was a new four-door Oldsmobile 88, mid-50s model. A big boat but it had all the things on it including headlight control that automatically dimmed the lights when another car approached it. Now those kinds of things wouldn’t impress anyone with all the gadgets that are on my new Chevrolet pickup but boy I never forgot them. And before I took his family up to the Boy Scout ranch near Prescott for his son to go to camp, I asked him about the tires since I had so many flats on my vehicles.
He said they were Goodyear Double Eagle white walls, with nylon cord in them; the best tires money could buy. Well I never owned any but all the time I worked for him he never had a flat. And the light dimmer did work coming back that night after dark from Prescott on the big freeway they called the Black Canyon Highway at 60 mph.
I never got a speeding ticket in any of my cars as a teen or going to college, they wouldn’t go that fast or I was afraid to drive them that fast, I am not certain. May the Good Lord Bless and keep you and all America, Dusty Richards


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