A horse one that would not shift gears

This Leon Hale column was initially revealed within the Houston Publish on Oct. 26, 1983.

On the afternoon espresso hour the dialogue received onto unhealthy drivers, and all people on the desk took a flip at telling concerning the worst drivers they ever knew.

My private all-time worst driver, that I informed about when my flip got here, was an aged rancher up within the Panhandle. I labored for him one summer season again within the early ’40s. 

He had this pickup truck that was nearly new once I employed on in June. After I stop in September to return to highschool, that outdated fellow had nearly ruined his truck. Ruined the engine, anyhow, and the clutch and, I anticipate, the transmission.

He was a horse particular person and didn’t acknowledge the necessity to shift the truck’s gears fairly often. He tried to drive that automobile as if it had an computerized transmission, which it didn’t, not in 1941. When he received in and began up, he typically left the shift lever within the place it was in, whether or not it was low or excessive or no matter.

I might sit in that cab and clench my jaws and endure, when he began the truck in excessive gear. That was a superb engine, and a superb truck, or else it would not have lasted previous the Fourth of July. He would floorboard the fuel, to make the truck transfer in excessive, and he did not appear to note the ache the engine was feeling.

My job in that place was tractor driver. Early each morning the outdated gent would take me to no matter discipline I used to be working in, and are available again and get me at sunset. The sphere is likely to be a mile or a mile and a half from the home.

I might inform him I would not thoughts strolling, if he did not have time to ship me. I hoped he would let me stroll so I would not must get in that truck, however he at all times had time to take me.

The one favorable comment I could make about his driving is that he by no means was a speeder. He went gradual, on a regular basis. However he may commit a fantastic lot of driving sins at 10 miles an hour.

He would chug alongside a rustic highway, staying inside himself, wandering round amongst his ideas, and he would go slower and slower and slower. Till lastly the truck would beg to be shifted into second, however he would not hear it pleading.

It will get down so gradual the engine would go to knocking in ache. Knocknity, knocknity knocknity. He burned tractor fuel in that good truck and at such a gradual velocity in excessive gear it will begin to buck a bit of and he would discover eventually that issues weren’t going proper and he would stomp the clutch down and gun the engine. However he would not shift. He’d simply slip the clutch out and let that machine scream in ache. 

That summer season I used to be 21, and would have given my proper shirt sleeve and the arm together with it to personal a truck like that one, and it was horrible to see it endure so.

On a horse, now, that outdated gent was the image of grace. He was a fantastic lover of horses, and knew all about them.

I had heard him discuss a time or two about horses being mistreated, and the way he hated to see it, and the way there was truly a legislation towards mistreating a horse. 

After I heard that I believed there additionally must be a legislation towards mistreating a superb machine like that truck.  

Most likely he drove the truck so much the identical approach he rode a horse. He trusted the truck to know what a horse is aware of and behave like one.

One time when he was coming to select me up at sunset I sat on the tractor and watched run the truck via a barbed wire fence. I knew precisely why it occurred. He was trying someplace aside from the place he was going.

That’s, he was on a horse, not in a truck. He trusted the horse to have sense sufficient to not run via a fence, so he may look off to his left at an outdated cow and he did not see the fence and ran straight via.

He by no means drove on the freeway, which was fortunate for him as a result of he had a bent to run into ditches. He would get to trying on the pasture or at a discipline of wheat and the truck would drift off and get two wheels within the ditch and are available to a halt.

I’ve seen him pull out of ditch in excessive gear with eight or 10 100-pound sacks of seed on the truck, and you may think about what struggling that engine endured. You may hear it complaining for a mile throughout the prairie.

About as soon as per week I might get to drive the truck a bit of. He would let me take it to city to do errands. 

So I used to be capable of observe, at common intervals, the deterioration of a superb automobile. Its clutch would develop worse by the week, from his slipping it in excessive gear with the engine racing. 

Even when he was going alongside pretty straight and regular, he seldom took his foot off the clutch. That helped put on it out, and robbed energy from the engine. 

Since that summer season I’ve ridden so much with outdated cowboys who transformed from horses to pickups, and a excessive proportion of them have been clutch riders that approach.

My concept is, since their proper boot was busy on the fuel, they wanted one thing for the left boot to do. And possibly the clutch pedal felt a bit of like a stirrup.


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