It’s funny the ideas that young boys can have!
Living about 9 miles out of Marble Falls meant a drive home every night on a very crooked stretch of paved country road. It’s common knowledge that deer feed at night by the moon. So on a moonlit night there were more deer along the roadway. We were convinced that on nights when the moon was really bright that driving home without headlights provided an overall better chance of not hitting a deer.
With headlights off you could see the silhouette of the deer along beside and in the road. The logic was that deer became excited at seeing the headlights and reacted by running, many times directly into the path of the oncoming car.
Late at night was our usual time for heading home. It wasn’t unusual to make the nine mile trip without seeing another car. Without your headlights on you could easily see the glow of any oncoming cars lights from far away, allowing you to turn your lights on well before meeting it.
This one particular night Kenny left out of town in the 1958 Ford pickup at the same time that Big Jimmy Palmer with me as his passenger left heading to Smithwick in his 53 model Red Chevy pickup.
After clearing out of town, both sets of lights were turned off. It was a nice night. As crooked as the road was, there was one straight section that we called the mesquite flats. It was the area where you were almost guaranteed to see deer.
Speeds were average that night, reaching 80 to 90 MPH, Only because that was about as fast as either of those old pickups would run.
Kenny was in the lead, a couple of hundred yards ahead of Jimmy and me. You must understand that braking systems were much different in those days, before antilock brakes. It wasn’t uncommon to press the brake pedal and need to give a couple of pumps to get the best braking action. Many times,with the lack of self adjusting brakes, pushing the pedal really hard would cause one wheel to lockup, causing erratic behavior of the vehicle.
Suddenly, as were were almost at the end of the mesquite flats, we saw the flash of red tail lights in front of us. Then the left taillight became the right taillight. Sparks begin to fly as metal contacted the asphalt. The tail lights continued to swap sides. The contents of the pickup bed were scattered all along the highway and the side of the road.
Jimmy now had reacted by turning his lights back on. The old Ford came to rest on it’s side. All this as a result of several deer in the middle of the road.
Battered and bruised, Kenny climbed out, shaken but not seriously hurt.
Within minutes a chain, one of the many scattered items was hooked to the back bumper of the Chevy and to a location on the underside of the Ford. A nice tug and a couple of jerks later, the Ford was upright and on all fours.
We raised the hood, and up righted the battery that wasn’t secured in. We could see that some oil had spilled out but hoping that it wasn’t to much, Kenny fired it off. It ran fine but smoked a little more than normal. We picked up all the contents we could find and threw it all in the back and headed for home. We figured to be back to the scene as daylight broke to get any remaining remnants that couldn’t be located in the darkness.
The old pickup was scratched and dented, but still ran. It already had it’s battle scars from the previous encounter with the bridge railing during the wild ride with the snake bite victim. That’s a whole other story. That had left it’s front bumper almost completely ground off on the right side.
Amazingly that old pickup was around for a while longer before ending up in Hugh Hampton’s Wrecking Yard.
They just don’t build em like that anymore.