Well, we have shared a small bit of Jake’s stories, now let’s share some of Red’s. I must disclose that Red is also listed in a book that he participated in bringing to market, containing tales of the Oil Patch.
Red is well known in West Texas oil country lore, although his real activity was earlier than this century, it was in the 1900’s not the 2000’s. A gentleman par excellence by reputation. He got his name from the color of his hair, which was ample. Although still fairly ample, his hair reflects his wisdom and maturity, it’s white. Completely the man’s man but also an innocent charmer, Red is always courteous to the ladies and will inevitably find something to complement them on. (that’s a good lesson for our younger crowd of readers)
Now Red, an avid reader and domino player, also has a fondness for old things that have memory or history attached. In his library you’ll find an old navy Colt, rusted and half gone, along with mementos, awards, a ton of books on numerous subjects and dominos. (Word to the wise, unless you can count the possible variations of dominos in your head in less than 2 seconds, don’t challenge him.)
I met Red some 30 years ago it seems. We were introduced by his friend Bill. Bill and Red could get into a mess or too all by themselves, and we’ll share some of that later also. He became an extremely close and cared for friend.
Once, on a visit I noticed Red was more excited and happier than usual. He was always an encouraging and pleasant person to be around, but this time he seemed just more than usual. I thought he might have sold an oil lease an made a killin’ or something of the like, but that wasn’t the case. We visited a while at his office then he said, “let’s go to the house, I’ve got something to show you.”
Parked in the drive way was his 1st oil field pickup. I stress first. It was a Ford Crew Cab, short bed, with a fresh coat of paint (original color). He had hunted it down, found it, and “restored” it.
Now this particular vehicle, although restored, was not necessarily restored to original production line condition. It’s upholstery, I certain, was not on the option list back then. Red, like most of us, has always been a bit partial to comfort. Oh, don’t misunderstand. If it’s roughing it on a hunting trip or something, that’s OK. But if you ever drove or rode in those original crew cabs, it was more like ridding in the back of a prairie wagon on rocky ground. Never miss a bump.
All the seats were covered in the plushest of chocolate velvet and trimmed in light tan. This was obviously the boss’s pickup. He said he just got it back and “let’s take it for a spin.” Heck I was game.
Well it road like a Cadillac with one exception. You know what it’s like to follow a feller who has been at the bar a bit longer than he should have been. He kinda wanders all over the road. Well imagine riding with that feller going eighty down the highway (‘cause that was Red’s normal speed.) Plus, you notice that the vehicle isn’t always going in the direction the steering wheel is turning.
Now that’s excitement folks, the play in that old steering mechanism would let you turn a right corner by steering left. I prayed all the way back to Red’s. But that’s not then end of the story.
You recall I said Red was introduced to me by his good friend Bill. Now Bill owned the largest Ford Dealership in the Southwest. Tens of thousands of his vehicles traversed the west Texas oil fields. His showroom faced the highway going between Midland and Odessa and was big enough to hold several vehicles.
Red decided that his ancient pickup should be on display, sorta as an original work of oil field art complete with velvet seats, and shared that idea with Bill several times, especially since it was a Ford. Finally, Bill came to me and said “how do I tell him no.” Well it all worked out and they remained friends. But the pickup never made it to Bill’s showroom floor.