Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Fifty-Seven Chevy


One of my favorite cars is the 1957 Chevy sedan. I never owned one but my brother once did. I wrote the following with his car in mind. Please note that this is entirely fiction and is not about my brother or me.



My Fifty-Seven Chevy

The sign on the windshield said for sale
Struck my eye 'cause she sure was a beauty
Jet black and meant to be mine I could tell
So I just had to have that fifty-seven Chevy

All through my junior and my senior years
Drove the Chevy to ball practice and the dances
Summers drove to the beach with her sitting near
Then on most Friday nights to the stock car races

My fifty-seven Chevy was my best friend
And nobody had any better
We went everywhere together back then

My brother drove me to the railroad station
In my fifty-seven Chevy on that cold day
Promised to put it in the barn for the duration
Watched my Chevy fade as I pulled away

Arrived in Vietnam in the spring of sixty-six
Saw four of my buddies blown away that year
I was the one that called in for the medics
The purpose of the war was no longer clear

Through it all I dreamed about getting back
I dreamed about driving my fifty-seven Chevy
That day that Charlie attacked our bivouac
Thought I'd never more see my fifty-seven Chevy

My fifty-seven Chevy was my best friend
And nobody had any better
We went everywhere together back then

When I got home the whole world had changed
Nobody wanted to talk to a Vet from Vietnam
Everybody looked at me like I was deranged
Got a bottle and drove away in my Chevy sedan


The cop pulled me over doing eighty-nine
He hauled me over to the Cass county jail
The Judge looked at me and gave me time
The next six weeks was nightmares and hell

My brother came for me in my fifty-seven Chevy
Hauled me away from jail but not my misery
Said he had found a job that was just for me
Pumping gas if I could just stay alcohol free

After work was done I stopped for only one
But then that one became a whole lot more
Ran the Chevy into a tree on my way home
I called my brother up from the country store

My brother said that the Chevy was wrecked
We hooked it up and pulled it back into the woods
And left it set there forlorn with all of my neglect
The frontend smashed in under my Chevy’s hood

My fifty-seven Chevy was my best friend
And nobody had any better
We went everywhere together until then

I have done some traveling around since that time
But never traveled in a any car that I have owned
I’ve always walked or I have hitched rides every time
Wanted to see my Chevy but I always postponed

Now those Agent Orange symptoms got me down
And I know that I am just about out of time
'Cause all the VA doctors say it won’t be too long
Before they put me in that dark grave of mine

I left a note tacked inside my brother’s back door
To bring the dozer when he comes back the lane
I’ll be sitting in my old Chevy just like long before
And he can bury the Chevy along with my remains

My fifty-seven Chevy is my best friend
And nobody has any better
We will be together like before again

Copyright 2011 Wayne Nolen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hot Rod Race


When I was a sophomore in High School I bought a 1952 Ford with a 239 cubic inch flat head V8. It was obvious that the valves were bad and I tore the engine down to replace them. The valves were seated in the engine block. I found that the valve seats were also cracked; but worse yet, the engine block itself was cracked where the valve seats were inserted. I was about to look for another engine as everybody said there was no way to repair the cracks in the block. My dad, who worked at the Bendix Missile Factory, however, said he might know of a way to install the valve seats in the cracked block. He suggested I might try an epoxy adhesive. Although the use of epoxy was not all that well known for such use in 1961, I decided to go for it. I glued the seats in the block with the epoxy and the engine ran like new. A lot of my friends made fun of my car saying my engine was glued together, but I never had a problem with the glued-in valve seats.

The following year, I purchased a 1958 Ford and so no longer had use for the old 52 Ford. My brothers and a few other friends and I decided to convert it into a stock race car. I was too young to drive the race car, without my parent’s approval, which was a solid no, so we got an older guy named Zeek, who was twenty-one, to drive the old 52 Ford. We raced it at the South Bend Motor Speedway and a few other tracks in the circuit. Zeek had a propensity to crash the car, usually on the second or third lap of each race. We would then haul the car back home to make needed repairs to race it again the following Friday night.

By the third week of this same routine, we all talked about finding another driver; but Zeek anticipated each race with such enthusiasm, that none of us had the heart to tell him that he was to be replaced. Then a miracle happened on the forth race of the season; Zeek didn’t crash. He actually came in third. At the end of the race we ran back to the pits to congratulate Zeek; but Zeek only muttered “The dammed throttle stuck half open and I had to throw her up in into third and just go with the traffic!”

The following week we hauled the Ford over to New Paris to race. With the throttle fixed, of course, Zeek again crashed during the third lap. This time he destroyed the entire front end of the car making it impossible to load on the trailer. We left the car lying there in a heap. No one had to inform Zeek he was no longer the driver.

I think of my old Ford flathead with a smile in my heart whenever I hear the song Hot Rod Race sung by Jimmie Dolan:

video

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Swinging The South Bound Freight Doug Walker

video


Some people seem to have lots of bad luck. I wrote this about one of them. Doug Walker was kind enough to put the words to music. I put his song together with some moving pictures of trains to add to the atmosphere.


Swinging the South Bound Freight


My darlin’ said goodbye to me
In summer of sixty three
My darlin’ said goodbye to me
The long hot summer of sixty three

She said goodbye in the morning
She caught the train at three

By five I was wholly hammered
And my fifth of Beam was done
By five I was wholly hammered
And my fifth of Beam was done

It was either ending as a drunkard
Or stealing a ride on the evening run

With nary a goodbye to anyone
I swung the south bound freight
With nary a goodbye to anyone
I swung the south bound freight

Good or bad my new life begun
As I rode that cattle car down state

West from the St. Louie yard
I rode the old Santa Fe line
West from the St. Louie yard
I rode the old Santa Fe line

Sneaking by the old train guards
Sleeping under the Ruidoso pines

Out in California without a nickel
And seeing no prospect to improve
Out in California without a nickel
And seeing no prospect to improve

I rode north on the Oregon Special
Missing my lady I kept on the move

Hitching a ride on the old Union Pacific
Rumbling east in the fall of sixty eight
Hitching a ride on the old Union Pacific
Rumbling east in the fall of sixty eight

My poor old heart a-aching and homesick
I was traveling east on that old cold freight

With a strong wind and six inches of snow
I blew into town looking like an old hobo
With a strong wind and six inches of snow
I blew into town looking like an old hobo

She answered my friend’s door a child in tow
Her wedding ring shining in the morning glow


By five I was wholly hammered
And my fifth of Beam was done
By five I was wholly hammered
And my fifth of Beam was done

It was either ending as a drunkard
Or stealing a ride on the evening run

Copyright 2011 Wayne Nolen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Haulin’ Shine Doug Walker

Haulin’ Shine Doug Walker
video

I have always liked songs and movies about car chases, running moonshine and the like. I wrote Haulin’ Shine just for the fun of it. Doug Walker did a great job putting the words to music. I added some moving images to give folks something to watch while listening to his fine presentation of the words.


Haulin’ Shine

Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
The lawman a-chasiin’ me down forty-nine
The jar’s in the trunk a ringin’ hard
Tryin’ to keep on the road a-doin’ ninety-nine

Daddy handed me the keys a-sayin’
Keep er’ on the road and keep from swayin’
And I was running to the car fast and OKun’
Jumpin’ in his old Ford V8 and him a-stayin’

I drove the V8 over to Malcolm Peers
To drink a little paps blue ribbon beer
And to eye his kid sister and play stud card
Under the willow tree in Mal’s back yard

Mal’s uncle shows up about noon
Tells Malcolm hey I got a job for you
Mal says I just can’t go Uncle Laruu
My cars in the shed with a piston blew

Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
The law a-chasiin’ me down forty-nine
The jar’s in the trunk a ringin’ hard
Tryin’ to keep on the road a-doin’ ninety-nine

Laruu looks at me and says heh kid
How bout haulin’ a few jars over to Madrid
And make yourself little quick loot
And take home yourself a jar to boot

Well I started out down old forty-nine
A-keepin’ her at the limit and between the lines
And a-keepin’ a watch out for Mr. Policeman
And listen’ to George Jones on the AM band

Well you know I had just turned sixteen
I was on the straights just the other sida’ Galeen
So I just could not resist opening her up
Specially since the Ford was just tuned-up

Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
The law a-chasiin’ me down forty-nine
The jar’s in the trunk a ringin’ hard
Tryin’ to keep on the road a-doin’ ninety-nine

Well from out of the blue a cop pulls out
Lays two strips down on the asphalt
I see his lights a-flashen’ in my rearview
So I push a little harder as he pursues

The sharp bend at Dobb’s Creeks a comin’
I can’t slow down cause’ that cops a hummin’
I look up ahead the curves lookin’ mean
But I don’t slow down with my Dad’s machine

I hit the curve a- doin’ a hundred and four
And I feel myself squish up against the door
All four Goodyear tires are a-screamin’
And I just get the feeling I must be dreamin’

Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
The law a-chasiin’ me down forty-nine
The jar’s in the trunk a ringin’ hard
Tryin’ to keep on the road a-doin’ ninety-nine

The old V8 Ford sounds like it’s gonna’ blow
And I can smell the engine loosin’ its glycol
The Ford topples and does a three-sixty roll
And lands on its wheels in the field below

As I spin grass across the alfalfa green
I see the cop shakin’ his fist a-lookin’ mean
But he can’t follow cause he’s lookin’ down
A steep bank he just can’t drive round

Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
The law a-chasiin’ me down forty-nine
The jar’s in the trunk a ringin’ hard
Tryin’ to keep on the road a-doin’ ninety-nine

Haulin’ Shine in my Daddy’s Ford
The law a-chasiin’ me down forty-nine
The jar’s in the trunk a ringin’ hard
Tryin’ to keep on the road a-doin’ ninety-nine

Copyright 2011 Wayne Nolen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.