1983 Little Charles takes a trip with Big Charles………… just a memory that will live on.


The truck would run 85 mph, most of the time, sometimes more. The speed comes courteous of the direct little tweaks and tricks the Old Man has mastered over the years.  The road was trailing a long way behind but too far ahead to reach the end by 7:00pm.

The sun was high in the sky and the trailer was finally empty. The truck was locked into about 76 mph and as much as the Old Man pushed the pedal and floated the gears it just wouldn’t go any faster. The Old Man was getting agitated. The race against time was only making it worse. What is the rush?

We see the old diner we had passed several days ago so that becomes an unwanted pit-stop. Not just a pit-stop but a landing zone really and judging by the cloud of dust we created on our landing I’d say we almost ran off the runway.

The Old Man is out of his seat in a flash and before I can get my boots on the long hood of his Kenworth has been yanked up and open by some grievous powerful monster that must have come out of the cloud of dust.

I barely see him through the haze but it wasn’t a monster with superhuman strength it is the driver himself, my dad.

I am in some kind of awe at his mood of desperation but I have to go to the bathroom so off I go. When I return the dust has settled somewhat and the Old Man has removed the fuel filter and is tightening up the new one with a smile on his face. “We will make it on time now” he looked at me saying “you ready?” the whole time holding onto a small screwdriver, that screwdriver in his hand was the secret key to speed and I knew it. I also knew he would have returned the engine to its earlier settings as soon as this devilish run had come to an end.

Once again were saddled up and screaming down the highway. It’s the Indian Nation Parkway and nothing is in the way. The sun is beginning to set casting a shadow of the rig onto the field of grass. If more speed would have been available the Old Man would outrun the shadow or at least tried.

What is the rush? I don’t know for sure but we must be winning the race because the Old Man’s mood seems to be getting brighter.

“Well if it’s not one thing it’s another!!!”  The growl came from the driver’s seat. Our speed starts to slow the gears grind and the sound of Jake- brake is like rolling thunder. I hear the gravel crunching as we pull off the shoulder of the road. What is the rush?

Not a sound…… the wind is blowing but I can’t hear it, the roar in my ears is from the highway speed. I hadn’t noticed it had been so loud till it was gone.

The truck rocks as the man steps up onto the driver side to talk with the Old Man. Not just a man but the biggest Indian Police Officer I have ever seen. Uh-oh

“Driver” the Indian says to my dad, “you in some kind of hurry-up-rush-mode,aint ya?”

The Old Man cocked his hat to the back of his head and looked at this Monster of a man without saying a word.

The Officer: “driver how fast do you think you were going?”

The Old Man: “Well that kind of depends on where I was when you shot me”.

Officer: “Humor me, how fast do you think you were driving?”

Old Man: “aww I figure somewhere between 80 and 90, my speed ohmmeter only reads up to 80ph.

Officer: “Driver I clocked you at 83mph” “Now driver can you explain to me why you are 33 mph over this posted 50mph section of MY highway?

My dad looked at the Police Officer with a straight face and said “Dukes of Hazard is my favorite television show, it comes on at 7 o-clock and I am trying to make it home in time to watch it”. I could have crawled under the bunk; I just knew this big man would think my dad playing with him. The surprise was on me.

I knew then what the rush was all about.

I heard what sounded like a cow trying to regurgitate a cud to chew on, I popped up to see if the Cop was about to choke to death……… he was laughing, still sounding like he had a cud problem but he was laughing, and I mean laughing hard.

Officer:“Driver what do they call you on the radio?”    “TenderFoot is what I go by.”

Officer:“Well TenderFoot that was not the answer I was expecting to hear.” HaHa big laughter

Officer:“They call me Big Chief.”

Big Chief: “TenderFoot” haha….. “The Dukes and that General Lee happens to be my favorite show.” And “I plan on hightailing it to the house when I leave you.” “There are no Cops between us and the Texas border so put that big rig in the wind……… just don’t run anybody over.”

As the monster of a man (Big Chief) walked off chuckling to himself he turned one last time and shouted to my dad who had his head hanging out the driver window to hear better. “I like your bumper sticker”.

The bumper sticker read (Custer was a Punk) enough said.

I am witness to the fact my DAD aka. The OLD MAN aka. TenderFoot made it home in time to watch his favorite program.

To some this story may mean nothing to you, but this is  still a story I enjoy telling, it is my memory and it is just one of many.

My Sisters and Brothers all have seen the quick temper TenderFoot has accosted upon some of the idiots of this world but this Old Man the one we call DAD was a wonderful Husband and a Great Father. I can’t remember a time no matter how bad his day was going that he would take the time to laugh at one of my many jokes regardless of how corny it may have been. I’m going to miss that most of all.

We love YOU, DAD, OLD MAN, PEPAW, PAWPAW, BIG CHARLES and most of all in my case TenderFoot. I am the only true TenderFoot left………… it will be lonely.   {How about that TenderFoot….. you got your ears on?}

• July 12, 1938 - November 28, 2011

8 Comments

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8 responses to “1983 Little Charles takes a trip with Big Charles………… just a memory that will live on.

  1. Ray Buxton

    Charles I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. I guess it was just too much on his heart to be able to recover. Were you able to get down to Paris and visit with him before he passed? Take it easy and I will be glad to call you “TENDERFOOT” Just keep writing and I will keep reading. Take care buddy.

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  2. Button

    For one padre it’s “hear” not “here”….also I’m still technically a part of this family why am i shunned from the reputation of any relation to tender, foot, or tenderfoot…or of any sequence of your choice???

    love you padre

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    • For one hijo as you say, I cant find the mistake. what line is it in so i can correct it. you are the sole heir to the TenderFoot empire. bone head I Love You…….. besides your girly whining how did you enjoy the story. I wrote it about 3am this morning.

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  3. Vaulene "Pinkie" Stewart

    Charles—so very sorry for your loss–I can hear him tell that to the Cop now! He was a “Rip” to know!! His ledgend will——— LIVE ON——-You and the family will be in my prayers!!!!!! Remembering you with love Pinkie

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  4. Melissa

    I did not know, I am so sorry. What a memory to have and share, I loved it very much. Lannys birthday is NOv. 28. Put my phone number in your phone so when I call or text you know its me.
    I Love You
    Aunt Melissa

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  5. Teresa

    I enjoy the memories you share with us even is sad times you bring happiness in people’s hearts. OK now I was being nice Don’t let it go to your head! HA HA

    Like

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