Barrelin’ Down the Dirt Road (part 2)

When I got to the gin, I forgot to check the oil; remembering at the last minute. I bailed out and checked it as fast I could, and the guy running the big suction tube was yelling at me to get to get my dang truck out of the way, as I jumped back into the driver’s seat. During harvest time, there could be a lot of trailers lined up waiting to unload, and time was money.

I hauled-butt out of there, and was once again barreling down the dirt road, when WHAM, something came out of nowhere, and hit the truck’s windshield. It busted the windshield good, too; spider-webbed like crazy in a matter of seconds. I could hardly see out of it.

I looked in the rearview mirror, and to my horror recognized the hood of the truck floating through the air then crashing to the road. I slammed on the brakes, causing the trailers behind me to get all sideways and stuff then jumped out of the truck. I looked at the naked engine compartment, said some things Mom wouldn’t have been proud to hear, then ran back to where the hood had come to a rest.

My first thought was I could put that baby back on real fast, and Dickie would never have to know I’d forgotten to latch the hood. One look at the mangled hood—especially where it fastened to the rest of the truck, told me that idea was not going to come to pass. I drug the hood to the truck and somehow managed to get it into the bed of the pickup—the darn thing probably weighed more than I did—then driving a bit slower than normal, crept back to the field we were working on.

As I pulled back up to the field, Dickie saw me coming, and even from a good ways away, I could see his eyes get real big. He stood there, staring at me, and as I came to a stop a few feet from him, he shook his head slowly side-to-side then dropped his gaze and stared at his feet. I rested my head on the steering wheel, and listened as the sound of Dickie’s crunching footsteps approached then stopped when he was standing beside me.

“You forgot to latch the hood,” he said, quietly.

“Yes, sir,” I said, not raising my head to look at him.

After a long few seconds, he patted me on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry about it. I can fix it.”

And that’s how I remember Dickie Morris. He was a great guy; always smiling and laughing, and he had a genuine love and compassion for people—even know-it-all-teenagers. I’ll bet you he’s still that way today.


For those who don’t know, those old International trucks had a latch on each side of the hood to hold it in place, unlike newer model trucks that latched in the front under the hood—like most cars today do.


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    What a great tribute to a kind man.

    • One of those I remember even though my time spent with and around him was brief. Yes, a very good man.

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