Big Red

by | Nov 12, 2021 | Cowboy Bob

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A Blog by Gail Cushman with help from Cowboy Bob

I’m always happy to hear from Montana’s Cowboy Bob. Looks like everyone has a good car memory!

My favorite blog writer stirred my memories as she reminisced about buying a car and taking off toward the shores of California as a young Marine with Beach Boy tunes blasting on her radio. Of course, my memories go back farther to a 1954 GMC ¾ ton hay truck named Big Red, with no radio and plenty of room on the front bench seat. He was our feed truck, and my ride to the local dances. Big Red had a lot of character if you know what I mean.

Here in Montana, we have girls with spunk, and the music would be Ring of Fire, the Cotton Eyed Joe, ending with the partnered country dance Schottische, and a guy had to make his move when the Cotton Eyed Joe played because it was always the next to last song, kind of morphing into the Schottische. If I were lucky, I would walk a pretty girl back to her table, asking if she wanted a ride home and sometimes, she was brave enough to agree. If it wasn’t too cold, (Big Red didn’t have a heater) or raining, (his windshield wipers didn’t work too well), then maybe I was in luck.

One time after a dance, I talked a young filly into a ride to her place, a couple of sections away. I had cleaned up the truck, covered the floor holes with a saddle blanket and had a pretty good quilt to cover the old vinyl seat so the springs wouldn’t poke through. Big Red started right away, and I opened the door for my filly to get in. She seemed a bit nervous about sitting on the quilt but smiled and said, “This is different. How much gas do you have?” I knew right then that she had experience.

We headed toward her place, and she slid over toward the middle, which meant that my shifting gear hand was mighty close to that frilly dress, and I was in heaven. Then suddenly Big Red stopped. The lights flickered and went out and she said, “You better fix this truck, Cowboy, or I am getting out.”

“I’ve had this kind of trouble before,” I said, “no problem. If you push down the starter button on the floor, he will fire right up.” The battery was under the floorboards on the passenger side, hanging by a thread. She shifted so I could move the saddle blanket and I put the battery back in position and told her to push the starter, but she couldn’t push hard enough. I leaned down and pushed her foot hard with my hand, and Big Red started right up. I sat up in time to be slapped so hard my ears rang.

She said, “Don’t ever touch a lady like that again.”

We rode home in silence, opened the door, and she strutted out, nose up in the air and didn’t even say goodbye. Well, sometime a cowboy just can’t win, I thought. I’d better stick to Slow Poke.

Next weekend I went to the dance and felt a tap on my shoulder and there my pretty filly was, “Sounds like our song” she said, batting her long lashes. “Did you bring Big Red? Maybe his battery will jar loose again on the way home.” Oh, boy. Maybe I’ll get a kiss. Big Red came through again.

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Gail Cushman:
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