The Demise of Delilah

Delilah was her name-she was an ugly faded orange ’55 2nd generation Chevy 1/2 ton pick-up.

Poor ol' Delilah

Back of the normal cab she had a home-made short metal flatbed box with about 8″ sides and metal tie-downs on the outside. She had been somebody’s delivery truck in Fort Benton and was tired when we got her in about 1963 or thereabouts.

My Dad didn’t normally name his vehicles, but this one he did. We put a fuel tank in the backĀ for hauling diesel fuel to the tractor in the field, a fuel wagon as we called it.

Delilah’s driver door was in need of a door latch because the door would not stay shut when you rounded a right-hand corner. As you would turn the corner the door would fly open and it was pretty far out there so it was very difficult to grab as you were rolling down the road.

My Dad in his typical fashion opted to fix it by installing a sliding house door bolt on the inside of the door so when you got in you simply shut the door and slid the bolt toward the back of the cab frame and presto no more flying door. The seat was worn out and the drivers side was so broken down it looked like a 300 lb. man had sat there before we acquired her.

Delilah had a 235 straight six in her and a 3 speed straight shift on the column for a transmission. Three on the tree to you non-car people.

Someone along the way had broken her round knob off the end of the lever for shifting so it was just a stick. As long as you drove her carefully with the 100 or 200 gallons of fuel in the back you were OK. If you tried to hurry the old girl she protested with either jumping like a young colt or dying because you were in too high a gear.

She had her own personality that you had to get used to.

One winter I decided Delilah looked like a coyote or a rabbit hunting outfit.

In the winter she usually just sat and waited for Spring when the work in the field started. I decided to take the fuel tank off and outfit her with a set of tire chains for the deep snow that winter. I took the old girl out to Baja through the deep snow drifts and being young and not too bright at the time I didn’t put any extra weight in the flatbed so she would have at least a fighting chance.

The night was young when I tried to go through a deep drift that was about 20 feet long.

Well the rest of the story is of course I got hopelessly stuck and when I tried to rock her out forward then back and again and again all she did was hop and go nowhere. I only accomplished tearing the rear end out, first gear in the transmission, and overheating her even when the temperature was close to 0 or 5 below that winter night.

It was a long walk to town as I was about 3 or so miles north. All I could think of was what I was gonna say to my Dad. I tried to figure out something that would pass for a good excuse, but nothing came that resembled anything plausible. I don’t remember telling the exact truth, but he knew what had happened the minute I opened my mouth. All the dread made a long walk longer in the snow and the cold.

Delilah never recovered and sat in the yard for a long time reminding me that I had killed her just like Tom Jones…

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