Raiding Ford Country



Life can get stressful and complicated.
As Robert Frost put it in a poem called "Birches"...
"It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open."
When life gets that way, Frost added...
"I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over."
We can all relate. And when my life gets that way, one of the things I like to do is spend a morning yard saleing with my good buddy and genuine one-time Wyoming cowboy Loren Johnson.
Way too early on a recent Friday morning, we headed out to do just that in his new-used Chevy pickup. One the way to the first sale, I asked him if we could stop by the bank to deposit $150 so my son, the U of A college student, could get his car back which had been impounded when he parked illegally at his girlfriend's apartment.
Why was this my problem? You parents know. And so did Loren. He told me a similarly sad story about one of his grown kids. Wasn't long before we were having a good laugh about something that had been extremely stressful just moments before.
That kind of set the tone, and before the morning was over, we had pretty much made the world a simple and sane place again. We even renewed our belief in a philosophy that seemed to work a lot better when we were younger than it does in today's complex world.
The philosophy? That everybody is either a Ford guy or a Chevy guy. There was a time when it didn't matter what you drove ... or even if you drove ... or even if you were a guy. You were either a Ford guy or a Chevy guy.
For me it was easy. I grew up in Flint, Mich., a General Motors town. (Flint had seven or eight car factories, all GM.) Everyone in Flint was a Chevy guy, which true Chevy guys pronounce "Shivvy." The Ford guys all lived in Detroit, where all the Ford factories were located.
I would guess that people like Loren who grew up in states where they didn't make cars had to do a lot of soul searching before deciding to be Chevy guys or Ford guys.
I'll tell you right now that Loren is a Chevy guy like me, or else we couldn't go yard saleing together. We laughed anew over what Ford really stands for, "Found On Road Dead" or "Fix Or Repair Daily." We laughed at how Fords always had great radios and heaters, but could be counted on to leak oil like a sieve and burn it like incense.
Loren recalled a Model A he once owned. "Didn't have an oil gauge," he said. "When it stopped smoking, you got out and poured more oil in it."
Cruising along in Loren's new-used Chevy pickup, it was easy to forget that Ford guys say GM stands for "Guzzles Money" and that "real cowboys drive Ford pickups while dumb cowboys drive Chevy's."
Then I noticed that Loren's new-used Chevy pickup was an automatic. I ventured that I didn't think he could be a cowboy anymore if he was driving an automatic.
By way of explanation, Loren revealed he bought his new-used Chevy pickup at Phil White Ford. "I told them I wanted no part of their Fords," he said, "and this was the only Chevy on the lot."
I asked him why he went to a Ford dealer looking for a Chevy. He muttered something about not having to pay Payson sales tax. But I suspect there was more to it. I suspect Loren took real pleasure meandering into "Ford Country" to buy a Chevy.
That afternoon I heard about a Chevy guy who is a mechanic at Phil White Ford. Ed Peck owns two Chevy Blazers and a classic Olds. He brought me up to date on the Ford-Chevy rivalry.
"I spent 20 years at a GM dealership in New York," he said, "so I can tell you they are both good products. But from a mechanic's perspective, I'd have to say Ford has the edge right now in some areas. But it wasn't always that way."
Loren and I both allowed as to how we preferred things the way they used to be, when you could open the hood and do your own work without all those hoses getting in the way. Back when Chevy was clearly the superior automobile.
At one yard sale, Loren was about to buy this cowboy belt when he noticed that it bore the name "Walter" in bold letters. I suggested that he buy it anyway. That his wife might think she had a new man.
"Heck, she probably wouldn't even notice," Loren said jokingly. (Honest Vanessa, he was only joking.) But I suspect there was another reason Loren passed on the belt. For all he knew Walter could have been a Ford guy. Heck, Walter sounds like a Ford guy.
Loren may have snuck into Ford Country to get his new-used Chevy pickup, but he wasn't about to take a chance on a Ford guy's belt holding his pants up.
As any Chevy guy will tell you, a Ford can let you down anywhere.

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