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Ebenezer and the 49 Ford

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Mountain Cowgirl

Well-known member
Mar 19, 2021
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NE Oregon Banana Belt
Ebenezer and the 49 Ford

Unbeknownst to me, my grandpa’s old mule, Eb was spending a few days at our ranch. Eb wasn't a real donkey mule, he was a hinny since his pappy was a horse. He wasn't kept in the corral since his resume included wood sculpturing with a specialty in split rails. He was kept in the five acres known as our yard that was fenced with steel posts, five strands of barbed wire, twisted wire staid mutton tight, although no sheep were to be found within miles. I was the black sheep of the family and there was no ba ba about it, but that is a story for another time.

Whilst I was only sixteen and should have been crazy about horses and boys, I suppose one factor that kept me from falling off the cliff to such a storybook romance valley, was the three neighbor boys, not cowboys, but wranglers. Horse raisers with delusional ideas that they were horse breakers. I was raised with wisdom from my grandpa that was a horse and mule raiser and had used mules for plowing fields, harvesting hay, and horses for real old west cattle drives. His wisdom gained from experience taught me that men do not break horses, the horses break them. He laughed about horse whispering and said believing in such was not even good horse sense, but that is a story for another time.

Spontaneous might describe my decision to buy a 1949 Ford pickup. I had seen one for sale out at the end of a long drive leading up to a ranch. I was on a mission that day delivering hay and had no time to take the long drive up to the main house. I noticed the grill on it was a bit smashed and would certainly need replacing before one such as myself could be seen in the parade before the rodeo, with the window down, parade waving and throwing candy to the kids and ignoring dirty looks from their parents that were burdened and heavily ladened with dental bills. Old doctor Harry would smile and wave while his wife, his dental assistant, blew kisses. Here again, a story better saved for another time.

Sluggish might describe how I felt the next hot summer evening when I made the decision to go back and buy that old pickup. My mother had told me to go back early in the morning and buy it because the early bird always gets the worm. It wasn’t a worm so I felt no urgency. As I entered the drive heading up to the ranch, I saw the old 49 racing downhill toward me. I pulled off to the side as it sped by with a young man about my age at the wheel wearing a beat-up old cowboy hat. He smiled and waved. I could tell he wasn’t a real cowboy, just a rodeo type, probably a team roper, and still living with his mama downtown, but that is a story for another time.

Disappointment overshadowed my enthusiasm as the kindly old ranch lady confirmed it was sold to Mr. Goat Roper and he was going to make a hot rod out of it. Her husband hobbled out to let me know it was in excellent mechanical condition and all original. He wished I had come sooner, but if wishes were horses he would be riding his old quarter horse as the Grand Marshall in the upcoming parade and I would be driving the old Ford and promoting decay and contributing to organized dental crime. I will now shut the barn door and save this stampede of words story for another time.

Several days later whilst I wallowed in unnecessary pity over my recent loss due to my own lack of quick response, my eyes caught sight of an ad for a 1949 Ford pickup for sale. The ad said to bring your own can of gas and a good six-volt battery. It had a perfect grill which was ideal since I had no time left for doing bodywork. With no time to waste, I unhooked the six-volt from the old John Deere MT and I grabbed a five-gallon can of gas ready to go to the field with the old MT. One of my older cousins had just come to quilt with my mother and seeing I was a desperate woman on a time-sensitive mission, handed me the keys to her new Chevy Camero. She regretted calling shotgun as gravel flew and I cowtailed like an Angus with butt horseflies. Well, I guess that is a story for another time also.

Amidst all this panic with time being of the essence, I saw flashing lights behind me. I pulled over and despite me pulling back my open shirt so he could see my skimpy bikini-clad cleavage or more like lack thereof, the handsome young officer wrote me my first ticket, no wait a minute it was my second, but that is a story for another time.

I arrived at the ranch offering my dream 49 for sale. It was still for sale and the body was perfect. Sure the paint was faded but no dents and the grill was perfect. The grill is what announced the glory of these old iron ponies. I had cash and with no hesitation, I shelled out the cash, all four one hundred dollar bills like I would the candy at the parade. With the MT’s six-volt installed and an empty can of tractor gas, I headed down the road with my cousin following in her Camaro, still a bit confused over this entire event. It was apparent to her that while she was a real deal ranch woman, her mentoring over the years to try and girl me up, had failed, but that is a story for another time.

Arriving back at the ranch after buying a new six-volt, filling the tank with gas, and buying new jeans and a top for the parade, the only parking spot left was on top of the hill that went down to the field where the old MT was parked with the drawbar raised and some short extension for the PTO my daddy was fabricating, protruding as to mock me for disabling it by stealing its gitty up and go. Now this story I will spill like spoiled milk for thirsty barn cats.

It was late so I took no care in trying to get the old transmission in a gear. I learned to double-clutch quickly and in a hurry on my way home. With the emergency brake pulled and my beauty parked on the flat, howbeit the top of a hill, I went inside and slept like a goat milk-fed baby with a fresh cotton diaper. The next morning I woke early and got all gussied up since it was parade day. My bowl of Quaker oatmeal went down as never before. I said a quick prayer thanking the good Lord for not allowing one of my grandmas to come and visit since she always dumped prunes and their juice in my oatmeal. I never understood why her constipation had to become my problem, but that is a story for another time.

Sashaying out to where my new love was parked, my parade date, my ace on the table that would mock the wrangler boys, and their idea that girls should not drive old pickup trucks, had me standing in shock. Some thief had stolen my pickup, probably the wrangler boys conspiring to make me all girly. I ran inside announcing in an outdoor rodeo voice that would be suitable for Swiss yodeling, that my baby had been stolen.

Looking out the dining room window I saw old Eb moseying around. He seemed to have a smirk on his face, a look of guilt, so I went outside to confront him. He had moseyed over to the crest of the hill and stood looking below where the MT was parked. I ran over there and looked down to see my new baby had gone downhill and its front had smashed into the old MT’s rear. That perfect grill was smashed. Suddenly I was in my Nancy Drew mode and it was obvious that Eb had pushed my pickup from the rear. His hair with some other mule smudging was all over the tailgate.

I fired up the International and towed the 49 back up and checked it out. The radiator was still good, all the damage was just cosmetic with one exception. The emergency brake cable had broken giving way to all the shoving by old Eb. I will never know whether Eb did it intentionally or not, but being my grandpa’s special mule and having a biblical name, I had to let it ride.

With wood blocks for safe parking and my diva girly girl wrangler/cowgirl ranch cousins boys in the back throwing candy, I crept along in the parade like I was driving the best of the show, a blue ribbon winner. With the boys in the back, my hand was freed to give a continuous parade wave. It wasn’t my fault that her boys, spoiled little mutton busters, ate one piece of candy for every piece they threw, but somehow that was added to my black sheep list, and that is another story for another time.
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