Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grandpa's Henry J

The farm Grandma and Grandpa lived on, and where most of my childhood memories are from, was torn down several years after they moved back to town. There had been two huge barns, a dark, loud, and scary pump shed, a smoke house, a storm cellar, a hard-to-cross-for-a-kid cattle guard, and green pastures all around the small house I then thought was so big. Grandpa took care of the cattle on the farm for Mr. Wish, who also owned the feed store where Grandpa had worked for years. It stood where the new High School is now. I wonder how long I will call it the "new" High School? 

We usually caught the bus at the farm and could see the bus coming down Spadra Road far enough away to get to the stop in time. I would cut through the pasture rather than having to run across the cattle guard and then downhill to the road. That climb back up the hill used to be so much steeper than it is now. I remember missing the school bus one morning and walking with my uncle all the way to the school at the corner of Main and Montgomery streets. I think I had to do quite a few double-steps to keep up with him.

When we were kids, Grandpa had a Henry J car that frequently would not start unless pushed to the top of the hill. It was our job to send that little car down the slope fast enough to start when Grandpa "popped" the clutch. We would find a place along the back bumper or the fenders and push until Grandpa waved his hand out the window to indicate he was coasting fast enough for it to start. We waited at the top of the hill for the sound of the engine catching before returning to the house.

I do not remember what color Grandpa's Henry J was. I read they cost $1300 new and were capable of going up to 50 miles per hour. Grandpa never drove any vehicle 50 miles per hour. My aunt said she went to sleep in the back seat of the car Grandpa was driving on a trip from Clarksville to Little Rock. Thinking they were nearing Little Rock, she awakened to find they were only in Lamar.

Grandpa never missed an opportunity to go to church. He was returning from Wednesday night services when he was stopped near the courthouse by a city policeman. The nice young patrolman saw who it was and said, "Brother Rosie, your car was weaving some but if I had known it was you I wouldn't have pulled you over." That was the last time Grandpa drove a car.


  1. That's small town life for you. Nowadays, in most places, the local police aren't so local and no one knows anyone.

  2. What a wonderful memory!

  3. Delightful post! I enjoyed the trip back in time. And thanks for your recent comments on my posts, as well!