Cheaper Transportation

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This photo at the left is an adaptation of the famous HOOVER CART of the 1930’s.

The financial situation for most people, especially in rural America, was such that few families could continue owning an automobile. It was not uncommon to spot MODEL-T’s and Model-A’s parked under a shelter and in some cases, simply abandoned. However, this did not hinder the need for more comfortable transportation other than the rickety, steel-tired wagons and buggies. Since power was available, without the outlay of money, in the form of horses and mules, innovative minds began working overtime and parts of the abandoned vehicles were converted to what was then known as The Hoover Cart.

This nickname for this mode of transportation was applied by the mostly Democratic farmers in the South, simply because President Herbert Hoover (a Republican) just happened to hold the office of chief executive during The Great Depression.

The idea for this vehicle was simple enough. The front axle, springs and wheels were removed from an automobile and installed onto crude, home-made carts. Shafts were then attached for the purpose of hitching an animal to the contraption and, voila, The Hoover Cart was born. If one just happened to be mechanically minded, other parts of the cars could be used for a more comfortable ride.

With the price of gasoline reaching an all-time high; my miserable mind has been searching for a less-expensive way of traveling. Granted, there is no way of converting today’s computer driven cars into a Hoover Cart but we could possibly adapt wheels from a bicycle; but there remains the matter of power. Perhaps a large dog would be feasible.

With our kind of luck, if we did succeed in creating this cheaper way of traveling, a Cartel among dog food manufacturers would be formed and the price of dog food would esculate. Hay for a horse or mule would skyrocket to $150.00 per bale and corn would sell for $275.00 per bushel if these methods of power becomes the criterion.

Today’s cost for a pair of shoes is now upwards of $150.00; therefore, walking is not an option for many of us. What choice do most of us poor folks have? I suppose the only alternative that many of us will have is to eventually sit at home and watch the tractor rust.

Demijon

I remember when

Grass was something you chopped from the rows in your fields or garden rather than filler for funny cigarettes.

Yo Yo was a toy operated by a string attached to your finger and not two dudes answering in succession.

Rap was what you received on your head from the teacher when you failed to pay attention in class.

Incense was considered the amount of knowledge contained within a person’s head and had nothing to do with the burning of smelly sticks.

Bread was an important part of the human diet and was far removed from the medium of exchange stored in banks.

Chicks were simply the offspring of a hen and a rooster and, in no way, to be associated with the female of the human species.

Line was a straight mark drawn on an even surface or a string or rope and was not the definition of someone who handled the truth loosely.

Poke was a container used to carry ‘stuff’ in and had nothing to do with the connection of a fist in someone’s face.

A Black Racer was the fastest of a breed of the snake family and had nothing to do with an African American who was swift of foot.

Discount was merely Bubba’s way of telling a story; you know, “discount and discountess wus goin’ together.”

Uppercut had nothing to do with fighting. It was simply relating to the barber the type of haircut you wanted.

Spam was not in any way connected to a form of junk mail sent electronically but was the mainstay food for millions during World War II.

Bail was an amount of hay tied together with wire or twine rather than the price charged by the courts to get out of jail.

Morbid was the question the auctioneer asked before raping on the table with his hammer and declaring an item sold.

Outback was the location of the privy and certainly not necessarily a sparsely settled region in Australia.

Housewarming was not only a party, but also the chore for the first person out of bed in the morning and that was simply building a fire in the fireplace.

Frigate was a word denoting disgust with something that does not work properly and has no bearing on a fast sailing ship.

Film Strip was what them hoochie-coochie girls did when the cameras were rolling.

Everlasting was the account for the taste of the wild onion casserole served at the housewarming.

Soundless was simply an order from one or both parents to the younguns describing the way they should play.

Synoptics was the way Bubba’s eyes reacted when he observed them “nekid hoochie-coochie girls” dancing.

Topside was the way Bubba described his car shortly after he wrecked it; you know, “It were Topside-turvey.”

Underbrush was designated as a tool to be used for cleaning underneath the stove or refrigerator.

Walkie-Talkie refers to more than one woman strolling through the mall or pretending to shop in a grocery store.

Courtroom was the ‘front room’ of the home chosen as the place where young ladies were to entertain their boyfriends.

“Disarm” was the place Bubba wanted the doctor to inject the needle when he went for his distemper shot.

Epistle was what the Mexican admitted was the weapon used when he was charged with shooting his neighbors dog.

Farfetched was the description Mavis used when telling about traveling ten miles to borrow a cup of sugar.

Hardware was what Bubba experienced when the ‘little woman’ put too much starch in his drawers.

Authors name withheld by request.

I remember when

Grass was something you chopped from the rows in your fields or garden rather than filler for funny cigarettes.

Yo Yo was a toy operated by a string attached to your finger and not two dudes answering in succession.

Rap was what you received on your head from the teacher when you failed to pay attention in class.

Incense was considered the amount of knowledge contained within a person’s head and had nothing to do with the burning of smelly sticks.

Bread was an important part of the human diet and was far removed from the medium of exchange stored in banks.

Chicks were simply the offspring of a hen and a rooster and, in no way, to be associated with the female of the human species.

Line was a straight mark drawn on an even surface or a string or rope and was not the definition of someone who handled the truth loosely.

Poke was a container used to carry ‘stuff’ in and had nothing to do with the connection of a fist in someone’s face.

A Black Racer was the fastest of a breed of the snake family and had nothing to do with an African American who was swift of foot.

Discount was merely Bubba’s way of telling a story; you know, “discount and discountess wus goin’ together.”

Uppercut had nothing to do with fighting. It was simply relating to the barber the type of haircut you wanted.

Spam was not in any way connected to a form of junk mail sent electronically but was the mainstay food for millions during World War II.

Bail was an amount of hay tied together with wire or twine rather than the price charged by the courts to get out of jail.

Morbid was the question the auctioneer asked before raping on the table with his hammer and declaring an item sold.

Outback was the location of the privy and certainly not necessarily a sparsely settled region in Australia.

Housewarming was not only a party, but also the chore for the first person out of bed in the morning and that was simply building a fire in the fireplace.

Frigate was a word denoting disgust with something that does not work properly and has no bearing on a fast sailing ship.

Film Strip was what them hoochie-coochie girls did when the cameras were rolling.

Everlasting was the account for the taste of the wild onion casserole served at the housewarming.

Soundless was simply an order from one or both parents to the younguns describing the way they should play.

Synoptics was the way Bubba’s eyes reacted when he observed them “nekid hoochie-coochie girls” dancing.

Topside was the way Bubba described his car shortly after he wrecked it; you know, “It were Topside-turvey.”

Underbrush was designated as a tool to be used for cleaning underneath the stove or refrigerator.

Walkie-Talkie refers to more than one woman strolling through the mall or pretending to shop in a grocery store.

Courtroom was the ‘front room’ of the home chosen as the place where young ladies were to entertain their boyfriends.

“Disarm” was the place Bubba wanted the doctor to inject the needle when he went for his distemper shot.

Epistle was what the Mexican admitted was the weapon used when he was charged with shooting his neighbors dog.

Farfetched was the description Mavis used when telling about traveling ten miles to borrow a cup of sugar.

Hardware was what Bubba experienced when the ‘little woman’ put too much starch in his drawers.

Authors name withheld by request.

Changes in our attitudes

“T.B. or not T.B.; that is congestion; Consumption be done about it?”

This was a phrase that everyone seemed to be saying when I was in elementary school. Our underdeveloped minds were in the process of finding something funny in everything that we did or read. The classics meant nothing to us at the time. We were more interested in playing baseball, shooting marbles and roaming the woods in search of perfect “prongs” for slingshots to be bogged down with a dull book.

Our ideas of “good” books were the “big little books” that depicted Dick Tracy, Tom Mix and Jungle Jim’s adventures. We could spend hours in a tree house, absorbing every word of these suspenseful works and even went so far as to emulate most of them. One day I would be Tom Mix and would prevent the bad guys from foreclosing on the ranch of the beautiful damsel and the next day I might become one of the gangsters who was trying to “do in” Detective Tracy.

Most of us considered it “unmanly” to be assigned homework that consisted of a novel that was for the most part romantic. We were “he-men” that made our living protecting the underdogs. Our calling in life was that of being at the right place at just the right time. We were the only hope for the oppressed and we were extremely proud of it. The safety of the world depended on our actions. Romance was for girls and wimps. After all, wouldn’t Gene Autrey rather kiss his horse?

We even went so far as forming clubs for boys only. Exclusion of anyone of the female gender was mandatory. We neither solicited nor accepted females, period. If you could not fight the Nazis and did not wear a six-shooter, you need not apply.

Then, one day, our outlook changed. We began to notice that the female of the species was not something to be shunned. Rather, they were somewhat unique in their ability to cause our heart to beat faster. The spindle-legged larva had suddenly turned into a beautiful butterfly. It was not so important that Detective Tracy could not get along without us, and at this point in our lives we did not really care if the foreclosure of the ranch took place as planned.

This turning point in our lives was nothing more than growing up, but we saw it as a major event. Slingshots and cap pistols were traded for items that we felt would impress our “new-found interest.” The tree-house clubs that we were once so proud of were more or less abandoned since our interests were channeled in another direction.

Our way of putting things changed along with our attitude toward girls. Instead of making a mockery of the classics, we sought to quote them in hopes of impressing our chosen ones in the fact that we had “class.”

As the divine plan unfolded, we succeeded in impressing the one that was to become our “intended” and merely let nature take its course. As a result, we became one with them and our lives were enriched. A bonus was added in the form of children and a happy home.

When we reflect on the past, it seems impossible that we could have placed so much importance on a spoof of Shakespeare’s writings, and we can hardly remember who Tom Mix was.

We had finally found our purpose in life.

Demijon

Changes in our attitudes

“T.B. or not T.B.; that is congestion; Consumption be done about it?”

This was a phrase that everyone seemed to be saying when I was in elementary school. Our underdeveloped minds were in the process of finding something funny in everything that we did or read. The classics meant nothing to us at the time. We were more interested in playing baseball, shooting marbles and roaming the woods in search of perfect “prongs” for slingshots to be bogged down with a dull book.

Our ideas of “good” books were the “big little books” that depicted Dick Tracy, Tom Mix and Jungle Jim’s adventures. We could spend hours in a tree house, absorbing every word of these suspenseful works and even went so far as to emulate most of them. One day I would be Tom Mix and would prevent the bad guys from foreclosing on the ranch of the beautiful damsel and the next day I might become one of the gangsters who was trying to “do in” Detective Tracy.

Most of us considered it “unmanly” to be assigned homework that consisted of a novel that was for the most part romantic. We were “he-men” that made our living protecting the underdogs. Our calling in life was that of being at the right place at just the right time. We were the only hope for the oppressed and we were extremely proud of it. The safety of the world depended on our actions. Romance was for girls and wimps. After all, wouldn’t Gene Autrey rather kiss his horse?

We even went so far as forming clubs for boys only. Exclusion of anyone of the female gender was mandatory. We neither solicited nor accepted females, period. If you could not fight the Nazis and did not wear a six-shooter, you need not apply.

Then, one day, our outlook changed. We began to notice that the female of the species was not something to be shunned. Rather, they were somewhat unique in their ability to cause our heart to beat faster. The spindle-legged larva had suddenly turned into a beautiful butterfly. It was not so important that Detective Tracy could not get along without us, and at this point in our lives we did not really care if the foreclosure of the ranch took place as planned.

This turning point in our lives was nothing more than growing up, but we saw it as a major event. Slingshots and cap pistols were traded for items that we felt would impress our “new-found interest.” The tree-house clubs that we were once so proud of were more or less abandoned since our interests were channeled in another direction.

Our way of putting things changed along with our attitude toward girls. Instead of making a mockery of the classics, we sought to quote them in hopes of impressing our chosen ones in the fact that we had “class.”

As the divine plan unfolded, we succeeded in impressing the one that was to become our “intended” and merely let nature take its course. As a result, we became one with them and our lives were enriched. A bonus was added in the form of children and a happy home.

When we reflect on the past, it seems impossible that we could have placed so much importance on a spoof of Shakespeare’s writings, and we can hardly remember who Tom Mix was.

We had finally found our purpose in life.

Demijon

Forget the dog: Beware of the owner.

With crime running rampant throughout the country, unique ways of curbing the onslaught are surfacing. Purchases of handguns have risen to almost phenomenal proportions. Permits for the ownership of weapons are now being issued to people who otherwise would have scorned possession of these items. Their logic is, (and rightly so) that when all weapons are banned, the only ones to possess guns will be the criminals.

It has almost reached the point to where everyone has rights with the exception of the victims. If a suspect is apprehended while in the process of committing a murder, they are often released on a technicality or else, if convicted, only serve a short time because of overcrowding in the prisons. This could very well be the reason for the increase in violence. With little or no penalties, what do they have to lose?

I can vividly remember a time when no one considered locking their homes. Quite possibly, while they were away, a neighbor would have need of something and would not hesitate to enter and borrow the item. Likewise, you were encouraged to do the same if you had a need. Those truly were the “good old days.” I recall hearing my father say that he would NOT allow anyone to: (A), “Leave his house hungry, (B), insult my mother and (C), kick his dog.” Crime was the least of his worries.

No thought was given to a romantic stroll along the streets on a moonlit evening and perhaps window-shopping in the downtown area. No one would pass a pedestrian without offering a ride. Car-jacking was unheard of and kidnapping was only in isolated instances where ransom could be demanded. It was certainly not done for the fun of it.

Since recent crime bills have done nothing to control violence, many have resorted to their own methods of protection. Signs such as “Protected by R.E.M. Security Systems, Inc.,” “This car protected by Colt-44,” “Warning, Doberman Loose Inside,” and my favorite, “This House Protected By Attack Poodle,” have appeared almost overnight. People are getting serious about their rights to feel safe and are doing something about it themselves.

Lawmakers would be wise to stiffen the penalties to the point that it would become intolerable for anyone to commit a violent crime. Only then can they hope to achieve a workable control over the guns that Americans now need for their own protection.

Demijon

Forget the dog: Beware of the owner.

With crime running rampant throughout the country, unique ways of curbing the onslaught are surfacing. Purchases of handguns have risen to almost phenomenal proportions. Permits for the ownership of weapons are now being issued to people who otherwise would have scorned possession of these items. Their logic is, (and rightly so) that when all weapons are banned, the only ones to possess guns will be the criminals.

It has almost reached the point to where everyone has rights with the exception of the victims. If a suspect is apprehended while in the process of committing a murder, they are often released on a technicality or else, if convicted, only serve a short time because of overcrowding in the prisons. This could very well be the reason for the increase in violence. With little or no penalties, what do they have to lose?

I can vividly remember a time when no one considered locking their homes. Quite possibly, while they were away, a neighbor would have need of something and would not hesitate to enter and borrow the item. Likewise, you were encouraged to do the same if you had a need. Those truly were the “good old days.” I recall hearing my father say that he would NOT allow anyone to: (A), “Leave his house hungry, (B), insult my mother and (C), kick his dog.” Crime was the least of his worries.

No thought was given to a romantic stroll along the streets on a moonlit evening and perhaps window-shopping in the downtown area. No one would pass a pedestrian without offering a ride. Car-jacking was unheard of and kidnapping was only in isolated instances where ransom could be demanded. It was certainly not done for the fun of it.

Since recent crime bills have done nothing to control violence, many have resorted to their own methods of protection. Signs such as “Protected by R.E.M. Security Systems, Inc.,” “This car protected by Colt-44,” “Warning, Doberman Loose Inside,” and my favorite, “This House Protected By Attack Poodle,” have appeared almost overnight. People are getting serious about their rights to feel safe and are doing something about it themselves.

Lawmakers would be wise to stiffen the penalties to the point that it would become intolerable for anyone to commit a violent crime. Only then can they hope to achieve a workable control over the guns that Americans now need for their own protection.

Demijon

Things ain’t like they used to be

Children today just can’t wait until their 16th birthday. On this day they are eligible to take the test and become licensed drivers. Chances are great that, in addition, many will receive a car for a birthday present. This was definitely not the case when I was 16. I did get my drivers license but a car of my own, no way!

We considered ourselves lucky to have one used automobile that served the entire family. There was barely enough money to afford this one vehicle. Income from the small farm combined with “moonlighting” jobs provided enough money for food, clothing, shelter and very little else. The one automobile was purchased on credit and although the payments were small, they were nevertheless extremely hard to meet.

My Daddy was not the type of person to buy on credit if there was any way to avoid this. However, he felt that the necessity of owning an automobile outweighed his reluctance of being in debt, just this once. From month to month he worried about the upcoming payment, but somehow, he was successful in his efforts to meet this obligation.

The car was a 1931 Ford; Model-A, two-door sedan. As most other cars of the day, it was black. It was not equipped with a heater, AM-FM radio, tinted windows, cruise control or white sidewall tires. Air conditioning was unheard of in a home, to say nothing of an automobile. I suppose it would be considered basic transportation by today’s standards, but this was the sole purpose of this vehicle, to provide transportation.

An updraft carburetor on the four-cylinder engine delivered adequate mileage, and even though the price of gasoline was cheap enough, we were never allowed to use the car for any purpose that was considered wasteful. No cruising in town on a Saturday night. No pleasure trips that did not involve the entire family. The car was to be used when needed ONLY.

Once the debt had been satisfied, my brother and I were allowed to “borrow” the car for an evening provided we had earned the money for gas. It was mandated that we bring the car home with the same amount of gas as it had in the tank before we left home.

Eventually, the car was traded for a later model, but they all were pre-owned or USED. The very thought of financing a new car was something that daddy could not comprehend. As long as a used one would suffice, he could not even think of going back in debt for the cost of a new one.

I remember hearing him speak of owning a new car before the great depression, a model T. However the hard times that he had gone through was ingrained within him to the point that he refused to buy any vehicle that he could not pay cash for, EXCEPT that one model A. If memory serves me correctly, the price of that car was $100.00.  A new one could be purched for around $600. This was a fortune in that day.

Daddy would never believe that most families today own at least two vehicles and that some own as many as there are members in the family. He would consider this a waste. His theory was that a car should be used only for going to work, to church, to the doctor, and an occasional ride on Sunday afternoon. Any other use was folly and he did not believe in squandering money in such a useless manner.

The very fact that I remember the days of the Model A as well as the struggles my Daddy had in order to pay for one, have made me appreciate the few new automobiles that I have owned. They were financed to the hilt, however, a better economy and a steady job made the payments within the range of my paltry income. The very fact that I was raised during “hard times” enabled me to endure a steady diet of beans and potatoes until the debt had been satisfied. Astonishing as it may seem to some, I was well into my golden years before I was finally capable of paying cash for an automobile.

If my upbringing during these “hard times combined with the teachings of my father did nothing else, it instilled within me a fear of any debt that is not absolutely necessary.

JOHN

Things ain’t like they used to be

Children today just can’t wait until their 16th birthday. On this day they are eligible to take the test and become licensed drivers. Chances are great that, in addition, many will receive a car for a birthday present. This was definitely not the case when I was 16. I did get my drivers license but a car of my own, no way!

We considered ourselves lucky to have one used automobile that served the entire family. There was barely enough money to afford this one vehicle. Income from the small farm combined with “moonlighting” jobs provided enough money for food, clothing, shelter and very little else. The one automobile was purchased on credit and although the payments were small, they were nevertheless extremely hard to meet.

My Daddy was not the type of person to buy on credit if there was any way to avoid this. However, he felt that the necessity of owning an automobile outweighed his reluctance of being in debt, just this once. From month to month he worried about the upcoming payment, but somehow, he was successful in his efforts to meet this obligation.

The car was a 1931 Ford; Model-A, two-door sedan. As most other cars of the day, it was black. It was not equipped with a heater, AM-FM radio, tinted windows, cruise control or white sidewall tires. Air conditioning was unheard of in a home, to say nothing of an automobile. I suppose it would be considered basic transportation by today’s standards, but this was the sole purpose of this vehicle, to provide transportation.

An updraft carburetor on the four-cylinder engine delivered adequate mileage, and even though the price of gasoline was cheap enough, we were never allowed to use the car for any purpose that was considered wasteful. No cruising in town on a Saturday night. No pleasure trips that did not involve the entire family. The car was to be used when needed ONLY.

Once the debt had been satisfied, my brother and I were allowed to “borrow” the car for an evening provided we had earned the money for gas. It was mandated that we bring the car home with the same amount of gas as it had in the tank before we left home.

Eventually, the car was traded for a later model, but they all were pre-owned or USED. The very thought of financing a new car was something that daddy could not comprehend. As long as a used one would suffice, he could not even think of going back in debt for the cost of a new one.

I remember hearing him speak of owning a new car before the great depression, a model T. However the hard times that he had gone through was ingrained within him to the point that he refused to buy any vehicle that he could not pay cash for, EXCEPT that one model A. If memory serves me correctly, the price of that car was $100.00.  A new one could be purched for around $600. This was a fortune in that day.

Daddy would never believe that most families today own at least two vehicles and that some own as many as there are members in the family. He would consider this a waste. His theory was that a car should be used only for going to work, to church, to the doctor, and an occasional ride on Sunday afternoon. Any other use was folly and he did not believe in squandering money in such a useless manner.

The very fact that I remember the days of the Model A as well as the struggles my Daddy had in order to pay for one, have made me appreciate the few new automobiles that I have owned. They were financed to the hilt, however, a better economy and a steady job made the payments within the range of my paltry income. The very fact that I was raised during “hard times” enabled me to endure a steady diet of beans and potatoes until the debt had been satisfied. Astonishing as it may seem to some, I was well into my golden years before I was finally capable of paying cash for an automobile.

If my upbringing during these “hard times” combined with the teachings of my father did nothing else, it instilled within me a fear of any debt that is not absolutely necessary.

JOHN

A study of uniqueness

            At the conclusion of the worship service, he made a feeble attempt to explain to the minister the reason for his arrival at the middle of the sermon.  “Static electricity in my socks caused the volume level in my hearing aide to decrease, and when the alarm buzzed, I assumed it was the hum from the air conditioner.  It was only when the constant vibrations triggered the smoke detector that I realized that my pants needed pressing and my shirt was still in the dryer, complete with two missing buttons.”

            Why do we feel that a simple explanation of “I overslept” would not have sufficed?  Is a lengthy excuse any more believable?  Unique excuses have been around for ages and are not limited to the incident cited above.  My Father told me of an example of originality in excuses.  The reader can decide if there is any truth in this story 

            A gentleman and his wife drove through a stop sign in a small town, whereupon a policeman immediately stopped them.  “Why didn’t you stop at the intersection?” the officer asked.  “Couldn’t, I don’t have any brakes,” the man replied.  The officer then asked, “May I see your driver’s license?”  Replying, the man said, “Oh, it expired two years ago and I did not renew it.  “Besides,” he added, “I was only doing 60.”  The wife realized that she must help with an attempt to avoid a citation.  She said, “Officer, don’t pay any attention to him, he’s drunk and doesn’t know what he’s saying.”

            Whether true or not, this is a perfect illustration of innovative excuse making.  Many of us have at one time or another manufactured unique excuses as explanations for our shortcomings as well as for our wishes to end a conversation and/or to be excluded from an event, which is not quite to our liking.  “Listen, I have an E-mail coming in on the Internet.  Can I call you back?” or “My prescription for dustitis ran out; therefore, I will be unable to help with the mowing and raking.”  “Besides, it’s my turn to watch the tractor rust.”

            I cannot really justify the importance of excuses, but important they are to most of us.  When we are faced with an undesirable task or an uninvited call, we tend to activate that part of our brain, which manufactures these off-the-wall reasons why we should be excused.  Even if they appear irrational, we nevertheless use them until something better comes to mind.  We believe that excuses sound better than; “I don’t like to do that.” 

            “By the way, I will not be able to help with the cookout next Saturday.  My doctor said that the smell of charcoal was the worse thing for someone in my condition.  You know that I suffer from acute sniffitosis, don’t you?  I’ll call you if I get any better.”

 

Demijon