Journeys of Steel
Journeys of Steel
A 1953 Oldsmobile sits in a showroom in Dallas, Texas. Its flashy chrome fixtures and shiny blue paint sparkle radiantly in the bright sunlight bursting through the glass windows of the dealership as it patiently awaits to be purchased. The salesman at the desk rushes to greet several people that come in to inspect and inquire about the car. All are fascinated by its style and elegance, but none are seriously interested in buying. Several weeks go by, and finally the car is moved to the lot outside. There, hundreds of customers casually look over the car, but still none are interested in driving it home.
One unusually warm, but cloudy Thursday afternoon in late April, a traveling salesman from Houston carefully inspects the car and kicks the tires. The dealer approaches him as he holds his chin in his hands and contemplates the car. He asks questions, and the dealer describes the features and options included with the car. Finally, the salesman asks the dealer for the keys and they go for a test drive. After a few times around the block, the salesman is impressed with the car and they return to the dealership to haggle the price. The salesman has to be in Philadelphia the next day for a weekend convention, so they quickly settle a deal and sign the papers.
The following morning, the salesman rises early, packs his suitcase and travel bag, fills his coffee cup and heads for Philadelphia. Just outside of Houston, a young child on a bicycle suddenly swerves out in front of him. The coffee spills on the seat as the salesman slams on the brakes and puts the car into a skid. The car comes to a stop, missing the child. The salesman wipes his brow, scolds the child through the window with a shaking fist and continues on. The weather through the mountains of West Virginia is clear and sunny, so the salesman puts down the windows and enjoys the breeze. Near the Pennsylvania border, the salesman comes up on a slow moving farm truck. As he pulls up behind the truck and waits to pass, the truck kicks a stone into the air. chipping the windshield.
Over the next seven years, the salesman works his way up through the company, traveling to San Diego, New York, Tampa, Seattle, Kansas City and almost everywhere in between. One snowy day in the winter of’57, the salesman was on his way to give a presentation in Detroit when the car hit a patch of ice on the expressway. The car spun wildly on the slick pavement, bouncing off the guard rails several times and sideswiping a sign before finally coming to a stop in the ditch. A passing motorist sees the salesman and stops to help. After three days in the hospital and a month in the shop, the salesman and car are back on the road.
In the fall of’60, the retired salesman moves to Des Moines, Iowa and sells the car to a sixteen year old high school student. The student, proud of his new car, drives it to school. He is too busy flirting with his girlfriend to see the teacher’s new Buick in front of him and caves in the front bumper, bending the frame and chipping the chrome. While drag racing against his friend the following summer, the engine blows. His friend helps him install a new engine and he drives the car all the way through college. Several engines and two transmissions later, when he marries in ’65, his wife uses the car to run errands and take the kids to church. In December of ’67 he is drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam. The following spring, his wife is broadsided by a new Mustang, killing their two year old son. A week in the hospital and two weeks in the shop, and the car is back on the road. Three months later, her husband is killed in a fierce fire fight in the jungle.
Unable to cope, she and her one year old daughter move to Pittsburgh and she sells the car to an elderly farmer outside of Lancaster. The farmer installs a hitch on the car and uses it to pull his livestock trailer. After months of heavy towing and pulling, the latest transmission finally gives out. He has his nephew install a new transmission and the car is back in service once again, pulling wagons in the local parades and giving hay rides in the fall. During the fuel crunch of the early 70’s, the farmer decides the car uses too much gas and parks it in the field.
For nearly thirty years, the Oldsmobile sat in that field, barely visible through the tall grass and weeds. Time had taken a heavy toll on the car; its blue paint had since faded to a dull weather beaten gray, the fenders and hood nearly rusted through in places. Its stained and discolored seats and interior were badly torn and tattered, the dashboard severely sun dried a.id cracked. The flashy chrome fixtures had peeled or been torn off, the glass tainted and cracked. The farmer had passed away, and the property had been willed to the farmer’s grandson. The grandson decided to clear the property a couple of years ago and sell the majority of the land to a development company for a subdivision.
While the fanner’s grandson was cutting trees, a collector and restorer of classic cars pulled into his driveway. The collector approaches the grandson and says. “I drove up and down this road two years ago and I remembered seeing that old Oldsmobile in your field. I recently acquired another one just like it and I’m looking for parts. I would be happy to take it off your hands for you.” The grandson smiled and replied, “I’m sorry, my friend, but you’re a little too late. I just sent it to the scrap yard yesterday.”
About the Author
Hello friends. I have always been somewhat of an open minded and “out there” kind of person. I like to look at things from, let’s say, unconventional points of views. A lot of things can be learned and discovered if you just apply “outside the box” thinking. I am not afraid of a little controversy, I welcome it. My favorite thing to do is make connections that none would consider. Name any two objects, concepts, or other aspects, the more unlikely the better, and I will find a way to connect them. Go ahead, try me. I dare ya!
Kruegers – West Des Moines, IA
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