My brother heard about my blog. The first thing he says is "Do not put me on it." All of the sudden I start thinking about the things we did together growing up. Maybe he will not mind just this one. I love you man.
You have seen the car commercials with the cars doing crazy stunts? They always display somewhere on the screen in small print: “Professional driver performing stunt on a closed course. Do NOT attempt." Raise your hand if you see that as a challenge. You and I my brother would get along just fine. My brother and I grew up watching shows like Rockford Files, Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard and the A-Team. Who says TV does not influence your decisions? When we were old enough to drive, we tried many of these maneuvers we had seen on TV.
I remember one time my brother buying a 1976 station wagon for like $300. When I asked him why he bought a station wagon he answered "I want to try something." For some reason, that was good enough for me. "Can I come along?" "Sure you want to call Buddy #1?" (Buddy #1 may not want to me to talk about him either). Buddy #1 said sure just come pick him up.
So we go pick up Buddy #1 and he gets in the back seat. Off we go about two miles from our house on a dirt road. Come to find out brothers plan was to see if we could run over small trees without stopping. "COOL!" The basic plan was, if we saw a small pine or oak near the edge of the road we would veer over and clip it with the front bumper. Sure it worked quite well on the first few twigs we hit. But after about a half dozen, the excitement started waring off.
From what I remember next, Buddy #1 was hanging over the bench seat from the back seat pointing and screaming "HIT THAT ONE, HIT THAT ONE!!" We were traveling about 25-35 mph. I joined in the hysteria, "YEAH THAT ONE. ITS NOT THAT BIG!" "HIT IT STRAIGHT ON!" Peer pressure is a powerful weapon. So is energy.
The chrome front bumper on the wagon hit the tree square. We went from 25-35 mph to 0 in a nanosecond. Buddy #1 was suddenly on top of the dash board. The station wagon was stalled. I was stunned. For a moment there was no sound just a lot of dust.
I remember thinking (even as a teen) whether this whole trip was a good idea. Why would we be out on a dirt road, driving a vehicle deliberately at pine trees, trying to bull dose them over with a station wagon? What were we going to tell our parents? How were we going to tell Buddy Sr. his son died? "Buddy #1 made us do it. He was in the back seat screaming "Hit that one! Then he leaned over and jerked the wheel!" What kind of trouble were we going to be in? Who’s idea was this anyway? Wait a minute, brother was the one driving. I can't get blamed for this. Dang he is going to be a world of trouble. Then it happened.
Buddy #1 started laughing. As he turned to look at us it got louder. Then it would get quiet while he shook. He would catch his breath and start laughing out loud again. Before long we were all laughing. Not sure about them, but I was scared of Dad and Buddy Sr. I was laughing because I knew was going to continue living. We asked Buddy #1 if he was OK. “Guess that one was a little bigger than it looked” was the reply.
We walked back home. Like most of our outings in a motorized vehicle those days, we would leave in it but we would end up walking back home. We got another car and towed the wagon back home. Brother got the wagon running again in a few days and sold it for $500. (My brother can make a profit from anything) Not long after our war wagon adventure we started seeing car commercials with crash test dummies...sissies.