The “55” Chevrolet 3/4 Ton Pickup With Sideboards

Cecil picked up this slightly used Texas Highway Department Pickup at a sale somewhere. That was along about 1961, so the old truck had a lot of good left it it.

It was Highway Department Yellow, with the state emblem sanded off of each front door, making it not very attractive.

To class it up a bit he had a fellow paint it for him. Cec never did have much of an eye for colors so he went and picked out a color I’d never seen a vehicle painted before or since. I guess it would be something between a mint green and sea foam green. It was the worst possible color. We had that green monster around for most of my growing up years.

To get more use out of it he bought some lumber to build a set of sideboards out of. Instead of being conventional boards they were like 3”x 3” that he drilled and bolted together with carriage bolts. I forgot to tell you the lumber was bois d’ arc (bodark for those of you that can’t speak French). That stuff was like drilling through pig iron. Back then we just used hand tools to do everything, so a brace and bit was how he bored every hole in it. He was a cussin and swearin with every turn of that brace.

When he got them finished and installed, they looked a bit odd, mainly because they were different. It seems like they were about a foot and a half taller than most other sideboards. The back gate unpinned on each side and you lifted it completely off rather that being hinged, but we were just jumping tame horses, shetlands mostly and sometimes a milk cow up in there. So it wasn’t important to slam it real fast.

We had that pickup and a new Ford Falcon. Cec was working off down the country much of that time and we lived down on the creek out of Jollyville.. He’d drive that Falcon because he drove just under a hunard every where he went. That pickup sure wasn’t made for that. So that ol’ truck was what was left for momma to drive.

One day several of us boys were of down the road about a mile at the neighbors place. We always had kids from school out to visit. It could have been the Reeves boys or the Earhardt’s or the Lippold’s or the Simpson’s.

We had stayed a little too long, because some other mommas were due to pick up their younguns. Little Bonnie Gay, my Momma came over to round us up, Kenny and a couple of others were horseback. The rest of us crawled over the sideboards into the back of the pickup.

As Momma pulled away with all of us standing up on the sideboards, she made a big circle the the Rainer’s house, I could see a low limb on that big pecan tree up ahead up. I thought it would be real cool to grab the limb and as she slowly eased away and then I’d drop off at the rear of the bed.

As with so many things in my life, I miscued a little and didn’t turn loose. It dragged me over that tailgate, tearing my shirt nearly off and skinned a good part of the hide from my back.

The other boys were banging on the roof, trying to get her to stop, all the while with me continuing to dangle from that tree limb. Kenny, seeing me hanging there rode over to rescue me.

I remember that little woman being a little bit upset with me. But I’m certain she did a good job of bandaging me up when we got home.

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