Fred’s “57” Chevy

It was just before mid-night on New Year’s Eve. We weren’t just ushering in a new year but a new decade. Dean, Tommy and I were at The Circle Inn. Not usually a place where teens hung out. Alice didn’t allow it. There was a regular clientele that went there, but this night was different. It was a very festive occasion. The place was packed.

I was shooting pool with someone, who’s name doesn’t come to mind. We had ridden out there with Dean and he wanted to go down the road the 281 Club where his folks where ringing in the New Year. I’m not sure why he thought it was a good idea to come over and disrupt the pool game by taking his arm and raking the balls in the pockets. It was his way of prying me away from the game but instead it caused me to go up side of my dear friends head with a pool cue. Alice, my future grandmother in law, soon had collared us both and had us out in the parking lot.

Just about then some old man, dressed in western attire with bolo tie and all, was standing in front of Dean and me. Neither of us knew him, but he was holding what appeared to be a nickel plated revolver. He was having a hard time keeping his balance, as he was very drunk. Pointing the gun at us, he kept saying “leave that boy along, do you hear me, leave that boy along”. We were confused because we were both just boys and didn’t have a clue which one of us he found it necessary to protect. Using the best judgment we could find at the moment we just rushed him and wrestled the pistol away. We handed the gun to Alice and got in the car to leave.

The car was an immaculately restored “57” 2-door Chevrolet. It belonged to Dean’s cousin Fred. He had left it at the Schaefer home while he was away in the service, I think the Air Force. Why the keys were left to where Dean, home on leave from the Army, could find them I’ll never understand.

Dean was driving with Tommy up front and me in the back. Before we ever got out of the parking lot, Dean said something that I didn’t agree with, I was already on edge from the pool table incident, so I reached up and grabbed him around the neck and pulled him over the seat. The problem was the toes of Dean’s shoes caught the headliner and when he arrived in the back seat, so did the headliner. That left us fighting, but being wrapped up in the fabric headliner.

When we discovered the mess we had on our hands, the fight left us both.

There was no way for Dean to take the car back and pretend it never happened. As I remember it, Fred wasn’t too happy about the incident. We each had to come up with $125 to replace the headliner.

I saw Fred a few years ago at a funeral. I mentioned about his “57” Chevy and the headliner incident. You could tell he still didn’t find any humor in it. “Come on Fred, it’s been 50 years”.

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