Another ‘riding in the back of a pickup truck’ memory
Editor’s note: Ozark County native Lonnie High is one of the eight children raised by Elmer and Thelma High in the Grabeel community. He is a 1961 graduate of Gainesville High School. After living for several years in Camdenton, he recently moved back home to Ozark County.
Growing up on my family’s farm in Ozark County was a special time, and I often wish I could go back just one more time and relive some of those unforgettable experiences.
One of my strongest memories is riding in the back of our old pickup with a friend or with my little sister, sometimes climbing up on the stock rack with the wind blowing in our faces. For that moment in time, we were the kings and princesses of the world!
As it was for so many farm families in the Ozarks, the pickup was our family’s only transportation – which meant some of us would have to ride in the back, and that was fine with me. Unless I was back there by myself. Oh, how I hated to be going down the highway with a car following close behind us and the people in the car staring at me. “Go around, people!” I would think.
One specific time stands out in my mind. It was on a Wednesday – sale barn day in Gainesville. Dad had a bull calf he wanted to sell, and at that particular time we had no stock rack. Dad told me I would have to ride in the back and hold the calf.
So, here we go down the road with one car after another pulling up behind us and all those people staring a hole through me and the calf – or so it felt.
“Go around, people!” I would wish.
Later, on down the road as we were getting close to town, a tire on the back started going flat. With no spare, Dad thought he could make it on in. Could he have gone on down the hill to the old Standard station, where our problem might be relatively hidden from public view? No! He had to pull right on into town to get it fixed. Around the square we went with one tire going whump whump whump. It felt like a town full of people were pointing and laughing at me and the calf and the flat tire.
Whump whump whump went the tire. Baaaaaa! went the calf, with it trying to get up and me holding on and trying to pull it down on top of me to hide my embarrassment.
We got another tire put on and finally drove on to the sale barn. I was never so relieved to say good-bye to that little bull calf! I survived the episode, and it became just one more colorful Ozark County memory of riding in the back of a pickup truck.