This happened back in the winter of 1981 – 1982. It was a cold evening. I remember when this happened the same way I mark time for so much of my life. By what vehicle I was driving. It was 3/4 ton Chevrolet long bed, crew cab, a 1982 model.
Chevrolet had just started making a 6.2 liter Diesel engine for their pickups. It was advertised to be the greatest advance in power that had ever been. I had to have one. I found one. I didn’t care what color it was or where I had to go to get it. I just needed to hear the roar of that big powerful Diesel engine and feel the power when I stepped down on it. There was one other thing. It had to have all the features available, but had to have rubber floor mats instead of carpet. That was a pretty tall order, as most trucks were then coming with carpet. I finally located one in San Antonio. I remember like it was yesterday. I drove that baby off the lot of Ancira Winton Chevrolet on I-10 west.
My love affair ended almost instantly. It just about got me killed getting back to Austin. You could punch it and it just wouldn’t go. It was loud but you could barely talk to your passenger while driving down the road.
In order to start it in the mornings I had to be sure and plug in every night with an extension cord (I just left it strung out from the garage) to keep the block warm or it wouldn’t start in the mornings. I always left out really early every morning and when I’d fire that baby off I could just watch all the neighbors lights start coming on.
I never was around a threshing machine, but from what I’ve been told, that’s what it sounded like. That engine nearly put GM out of business. Enough about that.
Kenny and I had spent the day up in Marble Falls checking on a few things and came back through Smithwick and stayed until right before dark. We hit the road for Austin and before we got to Lago Vista, we could see the dim glow of lights out in the brush. We stopped and finally found an old boy stumbling around. He was an electrician on his way home in Austin after a day’s work up on the lakes. He had drank a few too many beers and was feeling no pain. He missed a corner on the crooked road. His pickup was turned up on its side and leaning against a big cedar tree. Feeling sorry for him we took a chain and got him back on all 4 tires. There were tools and supplies scattered all over. We got whatever we could find and threw it in the back. The truck wouldn’t start and there was no way we were going to let him drive, so we offered to take him home.
We pulled the pickup farther into the brush so no one would find it and then got him loaded up. When we finally got him in and headed up to Lago, where we were going to help him call some family or friend. He was really drunk. We finally got a phone number out of him for his sister. I called and explained the situation. She talked me into bringing him on to Jollyville, since we were headed that way. We agreed to meet at the Jim’s Restaurant parking lot at McNeil Rd.
We got back on the road. About then we discovered the ol boy had had an accident in this pants. Man he stunk. He was passed out and was laying across the back seat by then. We were afraid to put him out. We didn’t even feel good about putting him in the back of the pickup. It was getting colder by the minute with the sun down. We each had heavy coats so we bundled up good and rolled all the windows down and headed for Jollyville. Of course our passenger didn’t have anything on but his shirt and some shitty pants. I drove as fast as I could.
His sister was not amused when we drove up and she figured out what she was in for. We parted ways and I drove straight to a car wash and hosed down the complete insides of my new pickup. In my mind I thought I could still smell that odor for months afterwards.
I’m not sure if it was the non performance of the Chevrolet diesel or the memory of our guest that night, but I soon handed that truck off to a foreman for a crew truck and bought me a new Chevy with a 454 CI gas engine.
We often talked and wondered how long that fellow spent looking for his pickup. He was in no condition to recall it’s location and we hid it really good. Kenny went back a few weeks later and it was gone. Someone had found it.