The Big Crash

Shortly before Madeline and I married I was working in Burnet and she was living in South Austin with Dixie Lewis and another gal. On Wednesday nights I would drive to Austin to court her, spend the night and head out early the next morning so as to arrive in Burnet by 7:00 AM.

Of course courting Madeline meant I’d come to Austin and she, Dixie and I would go to El Matamoros (El Matt’s was what we all called it) and completly stuff ourselves with Mexican Food. Once we would arrive there with Dixie, the place would come alive with laughter. Poor Madeline, the ever so quite one, must have been mortified going out in public with us.

I think the other gal that lived with them had a night job, because I don’t remember her ever going with us.

Then we’d head straight to a Dairy Queen down on South Lamar not far from where the girls were living. We would each order a large parfait. It all happened like clockwork. I guess I must have been attracted to full figured girls, because I was trying hard to fill both of them out. But as the picture below shows, that ploy wasn’t working on Madeline and it wasn’t packing the lb’s on me either.

The Wreck

When I got to the intersection of FM 1869 and Highway 29 at a little after 6:00 AM, I was taking a nap while running about 70 MPH. I must have been no more than a couple of car lengths from rear ending a Williamson Road Department Heavy Duty Pickup when I woke up. He was stopped, waiting to turn left toward the county barns.

The Little Woman and Me standing by the 1968 Galaxy 500 just prior to us marrying in 1971.

The crash left my 1968 Ford Galaxy automobile with a severely messed up front end. The county truck had a big heavy pipe rear bumper that pretty well left it with minimal damage. I think the impact knocked a dump truck load of dirt and mud out from under that old pickup.

I got a wrecker to haul it over to Becker & Philpott’s place in Marble Falls for repairs.

Well the wedding took place a couple weeks later and my new father in law offered up his car for us to go the San Antonio on our one night honeymoon.

It took a while for them to get it all straightened out and roadworthy again. A couple of weeks before Christmas they finally had it ready to roll. Just in time to go to Houston to Madeline’s Jordan Family Christmas Party. She wanted to go so bad, I guess to show off the prize husband she’d just cabbaged on to. No way I could say no, even though I’d tried to think of ever excuse possible. We loaded up the presents and headed off to Houston on that Saturday morning.

Then The Hood Blew Up

We were clicking along about 80 MPH as we crossed the Pedernales Bridge on Highway 71 at Paleface. We met a big truck and the wind velocity off that truck blew the hood up and back over the roof of the car. I guess they didn’t have it adjusted just right. Anyway things got pretty exciting for a few seconds until I could got across the bridge to the little pull off area. Not an easy thing to do when you can’t see.

I called George Becker and he came down in the old red and white Chevrolet Wrecker and towed it back to the shop.

That whole ordeal pretty well messed up our trip to the Jordan Christmas party for that year.

Starting the next year we went every year and I think I looked more forward to it than Madeline did.

The funny thing was, Madeline pretty well convinced herself that I’d caused the hood to fly up on purpose. She even mentioned recently when we were reminiscing about that whole ordeal.

I’ll tell you if I had of planned that, it wouldn’t have been for it to come open on that bridge at that speed. But I’m not sure I’ll ever make a believer out of that woman.

One fact I would like to throw out about this episode in 1971. That was the last time I had an “at fault wreck” in a vehicle. I guess marriage straighten my driving.

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