When this was written, I had just learned that my best friend from my high school days at Pampa High School, passed away back around the first of January. Those things make you remember. This article is one of those treasured memories.
My dad was the Plymouth dealer in Pampa the year the Plymouth Road Runner was first released. He bought one to show off around town and gave it to my mom as a demonstrator: 1968 Road Runner, gorgeous burgundy with a white vinyl top and white interior and LIGHTNING FAST!
I asked to use it one Friday night, washed it spotless clean and picked up my date. At the close of our date, we were going to go parking for a little while; it had rained earlier that day. I’ve always believed that the rest of this story was God’s way of shaking His head at our parking plans.
We checked out one place, it was too muddy. Checked out another, also too muddy. I only knew of one other place and it was muddy, but to me it didn’t seem as muddy; I WAS WRONG! I drove a little ways and could hear the mud beginning to collect on the tires and splatter on to the car. However, I was sure it wouldn’t be as muddy if we just kept going. I WAS WRONG! Can of see a theme developing? I WAS WRONG! I finally got the Road Runner stuck so badly that it was buried all the way up to the frame. I got out and tried to push, losing both shoes in the process. I asked my date to wait in the car while I went for help – bare-footed.
That’s when my best friend, Kenneth Taylor, entered the picture. He drove me over on pavement near where the Road Runner was stuck. We looked the station over and reached the conclusion that there was no way we could push it out and now way for his car to survive the mud either. I suggested that we ask for help from a friend of my dad’s who owned a 4-wheel drive Scout. I carried my date over to Kenneth’s car and we drove her home. I offered to walk her to the door; she seemed to think that it might be harmful to my physical well being if I did, due to the late hour. I agreed.
We drove over to Leo’s house, I knocked on the front door, Leo shook his head and said, “So what have you done now? Stuck again?” (He had pulled me about a year earlier using that same Scout.) He drove over in the Scout and looked the mess over. All he could do was shake his head and say over and over again, “What were you thinking?” He got his chain and rope out and with a ton of effort and several tries, viola, the Road Runner was free. I thanked Leo over and over again as he kept loudly telling me, “NEVER AGAIN, MIKE, NEVER; DO YOU HEAR ME?” Leo left.
Kenneth and I stared at the caked-with-mud mess. Most people would have bailed out on their friend for being so stupid. Kenneth did not. That’s why we were best friends. We headed for the carwash on the drag, it seemed to be the best one. Each round of the jet sprayer cost 25 cents. After $12 worth of quarters (48 rounds of the jet sprayer) we were finally done and the Road Runner looked gorgeous once again. It was 4am. What a friend Kenneth was.
I thought I had pulled a fast one on my dad. About a week later I came home one evening and my dad told me, “Hey, Mike, I finally sold the Road Runner, but the deal almost fell through. The buyer wanted to put it up on the rack and look at it underneath side. We found a couple of strange things. First, the underside was spotless, not any dirt collected at all. Strange. Then the buyer noticed that on top of the muffler, between the muffler and the body of the car, there was about 2” of hard-packed, dried mud there. We couldn’t figure any way that got there, except if the Road Runner had been buried to the frame in mud. Do you know anything about that?” I was busted and never again drove any of the great cars on my dad’s car lot.
Almost every time we talked over the years, one of us brought up that night and we always laughed and laughed. I will surely miss being able to call Kenneth and reminisce and laugh at my stupidity. If you have best friends from your high school days who are still alive, don’t delay in calling them again, so you can laugh at your stupidity one more time. God bless.
Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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