The Pastor’s Piece – April 9, 2023
The Pastor’s Piece
April 9, 2023
I recently watched the Jesus Revolution movie in the theater. It’s a good movie about the Jesus movement and is set in the late 60’s at the height of the Hippy era. It’s a story about a young man in search of meaning in life who first reached out to drugs, and then to Jesus. It’s a very worthwhile movie to see if you get the chance. I don’t know how they did it, but “they” assembled a whole arsenal of cars consistent with that period of time. I was just a young lad then – about 8 years old, but I was well aware of the vehicles on the road. That got me thinking about the vehicles we had in our family over the years – and it’s been a fun little exercise in memorabilia. If only we knew now what we didn’t know then, every one of those vehicles would be sitting in a climate controlled museum somewhere picking up value with each passing day.
Let’s start with the farm trucks. Dad first started farming before I was born at which time he bought a line of farm machinery from a family friend, which included a 1947 KB-5 International grain truck which, when loaded, carried 150 bushels of grain to the elevator. I cut my teeth driving that truck. It was a four speed with a two speed axle, which meant you shifted twice in every gear. Grandpa taught me how to drive it. That was before the days of synchronized transmissions which meant you had to double clutch between every gear. Fun stuff I tell. A few years later, dad bought a 1955 ton and half Ford truck. It was a straight 4 speed and held about 80 bushels when fully loaded. We still have the ‘47 International, which is in a shop in Platteville, Wisconsin as we speak in the middle of a complete restoration. We had hoped to have it finished before dad passed, but didn’t quite get it done. The ‘55 Ford ended up at my brother’s farm in Louisiana and I’m not sure where it is today. Eventually we had a grain truck fleet of a ‘47 IHC, a ‘68 Chevy that hauled 300 bushels, and a ‘74 GMC snub nose with a V-6 Detroit diesel that hauled 400 bushels. That thing screamed when you drove it and you had to have high RPM’s all the time. The guy we bought it from told us you have to drive it like you’re mad at it.
After I was born, Dad bought a 1960 Ford half ton pickup, painted green with a white grill guard. The tail gate was held shut by chains on each side which latched into a fancy little up and over pin lock of sorts. (I don’t know how else to describe it). A few years later, dad purchased a 1962 Ford Country Squire station wagon with wood paneling-like siding. Dad never cared a lick about brand names, but my uncle was a big Ford fan and he was usually the one finding us deals on our vehicles, so we ended up with a lot of Fords in our family. Personally, my all time favorite trucks have been Chevy’s. With that said, when the ‘62 station wagon wore out, dad bought a used 1967 Dodge Monaco station wagon which came loaded from top to bottom with all the bling you could imagine. It had chrome in places you didn’t even know chrome could go. It had a huge luggage rack on top and the back seat faced backwards, which was a hit with us kids. Sadly, over the years, that car wore out. Eventually it lost all four hubcaps and when my older brother started dating, he managed to bash in three of its four fenders in one winter. He then passed the car down to us younger kinfolk, and we had to drive that embarrassing wreck around during our high school years. Dad wasn’t big on “wasting” money on body parts as long as the car ran well and he didn’t want us wasting money on our own vehicles either. He said, “as long as you live here and I’m putting the gas in the car and making the repairs, you’ll drive my car.” Eventually the ‘67 Dodge was replaced with a 1975 Chevrolet Caprice. That thing was a beast and a boat combined. Talk about luxury and power!
Now I’m going to be kind of all over the place with the year-make of these automobiles and I will probably miss one or two and I’m sure one of my brothers will let me know. In 1974 my grandpa bought a brand new 1974 Chevy Impala. That meant he had to do something with his 1964 Impala which he also bought new ten years earlier. He told dad, “you have all those boys starting to drive, you’re going to need another car.” So he gave it to us. It wasn’t fancy, and it was pretty well rusted out when we got it and we drove the wheels off it, but, boy, I wish we still had that car today! After grandpa died, Dad inherited his ‘74 Impala which we also drove the wheels off and yes, I wish we still had that one too. I wish we still had them all – each and every one. But we don’t.
Over the years, my brother’s or I have owned a ‘69 Ford Torino hatchback; a ‘70 Galaxie 500 hatchback, which two of them (brothers that is) souped up, jacked up, added mag wheels and made quite a machine out of it. (I believe it had the 302 motor). Another brother owned a ‘65 Ford pickup with three on the tree. We had to swap the motor out of it at one time during its life. The inline six was replaced with the powerful 289 V-8. We had a 1971 Ford Elite, a ‘72 and a ‘74 Galaxie 500, a ‘72 Gran Torino, and a ‘78 Mercury Monarch. Dad bought a ‘76 two-wheel drive Ford pickup for farm use and my brother also bought a ‘76 farm pickup, only his was four-wheel drive. One brother owned a ‘67 Mustang which, if I’m not mistaken, after he sold it, it ended up in a demolition derby. That person should have gone to prison for that crime. One of my brothers still owns a ‘71 Mach I Mustang convertible four-speed which he is in the process of restoring.
After we were married my wife and I purchased a ‘84 IROC Z-28 Camaro which was more fun than we should have been allowed to have. I also owned a ‘71 half ton Chevy pickup with a 400 small block motor with a dual cherry bomb exhaust system (now illegal for reasons stated below). That was a blast to drive because, 1) It was a truck. 2) It was loud. And 3) When you took your foot off the gas pedal it popped and backfired and sounded like gunfire. Those were the days.
Well, Jesus’ disciples stayed with the more practical and basic. Acts 2:1 says, “When the Day of Pentecost came, they were all in one accord.” Who knew they preferred the imports?
(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).