The first Saturday morning of 2022

The first Saturday morning of 2022, I walk out in the shop, cranked up the furnace, and looked around. One project next to another….next to another….and over there. It was about 7 am and I sat down at my desk to tend to the morning ritual of checking mail, messages, and minutiae of all variety.  A Facebook group popped up on my newsfeed. It was one for early haulers, etc., which I have frequented for a few years. Without pause, I typed a post putting the Jungle truck up for grabs. This is a dance I have went through before… did I really want to do this?  Not so much selling, it was time for it to find a new home. I rescued it from certain death back in 2008, sitting in that gravel lot slowly rusting away. I actually found reluctance in listing it, due to tire kickers, dreamers and the myriad of other time-wasters.

I did it anyway.

Within a few minutes, I had the expected inquiries. A few were actually past inhabitants of the driver’s seat, and a former owner. I listed it for what I had in it. All I really wanted to do was not lose on the deal, out of principle or maybe stubborn thrift.  I had one message, in which the fella started with his name and phone, followed by, “ I want the truck let me know how you want me to pay if it’s still available.” My reply, in my best early morning sarcasm, “Cash in a brown paper bag.” I looked up this fella on Facebook and started to think to myself, he’s for real.  He had credentials and a pretty damn nice collection of the things that fuel our addiction. If he was willing to drive up from Mississippi in questionable weather, he’s too much like me and he’s the next caretaker! I had committed to a local, who had seen the post, to let him come look at it. He inspected it in all its roughness and I could tell, it wasn’t exactly grabbing him… which was fine. Different strokes for different folks.

Maybe the reason I have so much junk laying around this place, is my lack of tolerance for bargain hunters and those with lack of vision, or an ignorance of the significance and historical value of these things we love so much.

Hell, half the people don’t even know who Jungle Jim was. If you get those who had heard of him, you lose about half when you say his real name. Then you have those who think they can get you for half your asking price. They tell you they have a brother in law, cousin or buddy. I don’t care whom, this guy is going to restore it for them for a couple cases of beer and have it back on the streets in a month or two.  OR…. the “flippers” who are going to turn around and sell it because some famous guy owned it.  The only thing I have ever associated the name Flipper with, was the fish from the television show , when I was a kid. I have never been a big fan of people coming to the shop and looking at things I have squirreled away.  They have to tell me about the aforementioned brother in law, cousin, etc. who had one just like it. “It went 9’s in the quarter and would drag the bumper when he got on it.”  When I get someone who is interested, knows what they are looking at and doesn’t care to ring their own bell… They win.

 But, I digress.

  The local guy and his buddy, were good Saturday morning conversation and nice guys. I look forward to running into them again. My refusal to budge on price was firm though. I called the fella from Mississippi, after the local left and told him it was his. He said he was leaving at noon and would be here the next morning at 7am.

What happened next, was almost 12 hours of moving things, finding things I hadn’t seen in years. More than once, I would come across something and utter to myself,” Where the hell did that come from?” I had to move cars, trucks, chassis, tires, wheels, blowers, engines, sign panels, materials,etc. I probably swept half a million square feet of floor, raising a dust cloud that could have been seen from the International Space Station. Any regrets I may have had, they were moot at the end of the day. All that crap I moved, it worked the sentimentality out with the sweat. I decided I had become a hoarder. Most of it is really cool stuff. Still, it’s another damn addiction!  Spencer and I arrived at the shop the next morning, around 6:45. Even though I had spent all that time the day before, cleaning, rearranging, etc. I still had to get things moved, just to get it out of the warehouse. When Mr. Jimmy Shaw arrived, it was almost ready to emerge from its home of the last 13 years.

  I forgot to mention, Jimmy has one of, if not the baddest Maverick on the planet. Twin Turbo’d ,multipurpose, street legal, 200 plus mph, Greening built early 70’s compact. Oh yeah, Street Machine of the Year that won every award imaginable. He dug in and we started getting it ready to snake through the 100′ maze  from the back of my warehouse to the front of the shop. We backed the shop van up to the back of the truck, strapped the two together and about 15 minutes later, viola! A 50 year old, almost 40 foot long behemoth, pulled from it’s place of rest, into the icy January 2nd air.  Our next task at hand, get it on the trailer.  Now, here is where my reluctance to throw anything away comes in valuable. Winching the truck onto the trailer wasn’t too difficult, at first. The low riding nature of the beast posed a problem. We had to devise a way to get it high enough to clear the various obstacles. Naturally, we grabbed 2×4’s and planks. Those were good for a little movement but still left us short. We had project that required cutting out figures for a local Christmas display. I had hundreds of pieces of off fall, from 45 sheets of plywood. To make a long story not so long. Careful, and not so careful placement, was just enough to achieve our goal. Mission Accomplished!  About 2 hours of thrashing in the icy cold morning and we were finished. Jimmy had a new project. I had about 600 square feet free, again.  I was also sure, beyond any doubt, it was going to the right home. We bid adieu and pleasantries and  it was back to work, getting everything back in the shop…and on with life.

  I got a little crap from people about selling it. So what. Reflecting on the last decade or so, I have had more cool stuff than most have had in a lifetime…or two. Instead of looking at it as another project not finished. I tend to look at it as another piece of history that was saved from obscurity and the scrap yard. I have plenty of projects to keep me busy… until I am really old!  

 In fact…. well… I just bought a…. Stay tuned

NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD – By Eddie Buck

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