I’d never consider trading her off for another – no matter how rich or feisty or attractive. But I still counsel young men to never marry someone who doesn’t already have a driver’s license. No matter how gently my suggestions were posed, they were not well received.

Until one day …

We lived west of Grand View, Idaho, and many miles from town or settlement in any direction. The car that was hers to drive as needed was a trusty 1958 Ford sedan. We got it cheap because of some cosmetic damage to a rear fender. Kind of a gray and cream two-tone paint. It was the first year of the Ford FE group of engines, this one a robust V-8 of 332 cubic inches. It burned gasoline very well, thank you. By now it was pushing 14 years old. It still had more than adequate get-up-and-go, and one flat tire was the only time it stopped being Mr. Reliable.

She was home when I came in from the evening chores. Quieter than normal. Almost avoiding me. Then she said, trying hard to hold back tears, “On the way to Grand View today, my right front wheel dropped off the pavement onto soft gravel beside the pavement. I panicked, and as dust flew and before I had time to do anything, I heard your voice calmly repeating that if I ever dropped a wheel off the road, to first get it slowed down and perfectly under control before I made any move to get back on the pavement. So that’s what I did, I slowed down with just a little brake, until I was moving about 10 miles an hour, then easily steered it back on the pavement.”

She hugged me, and then the tears flowed for a bit. Since that day, I’m more careful of comments on her driving, and she does better about not taking my suggestions as insults.


One year of college, I was able to get classes on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and work a normal full day at a small feedlot the other three weekdays. This made for some interesting class scheduling. I ended up with a “bonehead” English course that filled a requirement as well as the “regular” class would have done.

The feedlot had some of the first liquid manure pits under the corrals and dealt with most of the manure that way. The “Turd Hearse” was an old military 10-wheel truck with a bulk tank and spreader nozzle on the exit piping in the rear. It worked really well on fields after harvest and before fall rains, or on frozen ground.

That spring, the weather was such that when the ground froze deep enough to operate the Turd Hearse, it was between midnight and 7 a.m.

My English class made a writing assignment about this time, our choice but descriptive of something we had seen.

Using as flowing words as I understood the meaning of, I described the change in the light from totally dark, moonless to a faint glow from the east behind the Timpanogos mountain as the sun rose, to the fiery glow of pending sunrise, and then the rays of light blasting through the morning mists and totally pushing away the darkness.

Then I added a descriptive couple of paragraphs explaining what I was doing up so early in the day. The teaching assistant who was running the class was a graduate student not more than a couple of years older than myself, and obviously a city girl from who knows where. When she handed back the essays, she was livid about how I’d ruined such a beautiful description of a winter sunrise with … mention of what I was doing when I’d witnessed it.

Being the polite, sensitive person I am, I asked her in class about her comments and a handful of us in the class had a good laugh that she didn’t appreciate.

Good old Norm Trimmell put together deals like I’ve not seen many other places. He bought some baled hay near Idaho City, Idaho. Had been a gold mining center the century before, now it was mostly a day trip with lots of small and outside museums.

We had to load the hay from the field rather than from a stack. He got use of a field loader, and we’d load his 2-ton truck, then transload it to the big rigs. This took some extra crew, one of whom picked up the nickname of “Tonto.” About the second day, when we stopped for lunch, Tonto asked, “Where’s my lunch? Didn’t anybody move my lunch from our car when we got in the trucks to come here?”

There was a grocery store near, so he didn’t starve.

I put my arm over his shoulders and said, “Tonto, there’s two things in life you never want to trust to someone else. Picking a wife for yourself and making sure your lunch comes with you!”