Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Henry The Truck- First Issue


Last updated 4/20/2016 at 9:20am

Vol. 62, No. 25 Borrego Springs, California December 5, 2013

Stories from Old Borego

Written from the perspective of 'Henry the Panel Truck' for Denny DuVall

I was born in 1950! Yes, I was shiny and new once upon a time. No one kept track of my first ten years of life. I was 'just a truck' to my previous owners. I ended up in Ocotillo Wells, California, run to death, with my old flathead six motor froze up. My owner at that time sold me to Denny DuVall for $35 in 1960, and thus begins my story.

Now as you look at my old primer paint, with my dents and rust, you might believe that I am still on my death bed. However, if you look under my hood, you will see a new 350 horse GM Crate motor. I'm also sporting a Cadillac clip, with disc brakes, power steering, tilt wheel, and an aluminum cross flow radiator. Topped off with a rebuilt Chevy truck transmission. A "Vintage Air" a/c unit, and tempered glass in all my doors!!

OK, now back to 1960. Denny's original plan was to go in with a friend of his, buy me, resell me for a couple of hundred dollars, split the money between them, and run.

Now I must tell you that Denny's friend was not able to come up with his half of the $35. (That's $17.50 to those of you who are paying attention!!) Now Denny, being the "Financial Wizard" that he is, took another two weeks to come up with the kings ransom of $35 to rescue me from certain death!! I almost signed up for counseling on that one!!

Then – Denny buys an old wrecked '51 Ford for $15.00 (money is no object to him) and installs the flat head six motor in me. I didn't realize that he cleaned swimming pools, and he would drive me 100 miles a day, six days a week. So, a year and a half later, that motor gave up the ghost, and I limped home, with my rods banging, two cylinders gone, smoking something terrible, and no oil pressure. In spite of my internal hemorrhaging, I got him home!

And so, began the legacy of a total of ten used motors, that Denny would install in me, over the following forty years of continuous service. Not to mention the million miles that went along with that! It's a miracle that I look this good!!!

In 1961, Denny got married. They had Michelle in '63; Lissa in '64, Ben in '67, and Matthew in '69. Life in Borego was good. I was into motor three by then. This family life is pretty cool. Once when Chelle and Lissa were still quite small, maybe five- and six-years- old, they were playing, "drive the panel truck." Somehow, Chelle got my motor started.

Lissa sat on the floor and worked the pedals, Michelle steered. Wegot about 150 feet on our journey, when "fleet foot" Denny caught up with us, and brought our adventure to an end. Perhaps the girls and I will continue our journey at a later date.

In '73, Denny's Dad passed away. He and his family moved to Escondido with his Mom, so she could be closer to medical facilities. She passed away in '74. Three months later his fourteen-year marriage came to an end. This was not a very happy time for him, or me. All I could do was take him from place to place, and give him shelter.

For the next five years or so, (in Denny's quest to find his 'center') consisted of going from place to place. He would stay long enough for the wind to change direction, and we would be off, again!!

The hum of my motor, and the changing scenery, would comfort him, as we headed out on a new adventure. I guess I should also tell you that his other, "source of comfort," was his lady friends. We would all take trips to the redwoods, Oregon coast, the desert, etc.

Not to tell stories out of school, – Denny went through more, "relationships" than I've gone through tires and oil changes combined in my forty plus years with him!! Oy Vey, the sacrifices I've made!!!

As time goes by, "Tumble Weed" and I end up in South Carolina for four years. During that time we go back to Pa. to meet his birth Mother (another story-another time) Then it's to Deer Lodge, Montana. Of course, Denny (in his ultimate wisdom) gets us there in December, when it's colder than a mother-in -law's kiss. Hell, my gasoline even froze up!!! Will any of my wisdom ever rub off on him?? If I ever find that person he got that $35.00 from, he'll have tire tracks on himself, from head to toe!!!

By mid-January, Denny has had enough of Montana. He's down to .37 cents, and very cold. He calls his cousin Tom. Tom sends us $200, and we're off for Southern Ca.

Cousin Tom has a job waiting for Denny at San Onofre. He works

Continued from Page 11there for a year. Then we relocate in the Escondido area. Denny meets a lady there, and they hook up for ten years. We all move up to Ramona. This ten-year thing was not destined to last. In '93 he and I move to the Julian area, where Denny does his paint and body thing. A trade that he has been in and out of since '57.

"Tumble Weed," by now has acquired a 28' motor home to live in, and a '61 "manx." A road legal sand buggy – for those of you who don't know. Yes – I've learned to share Denny with other vehicles. It gives me a well deserved rest, from time to time!!

So – from '93 through '99 it's living in or around Julian, Borego, Fallbrook, Escondido, and Poway. Going from place to place, working on other people's antique cars and hot rods. As you can tell – He didn't do any paint and body work on me !! Nooo, I got to carry the commercial compressor, and all of the paint and body tools in me, run to Escondido for paint and supplies etc. While he made everyone else beautiful!!! But I'm NOT bitter – honest I'm not!!!

Now during that time from '93 through '99 there were trips every Sept. to Bellingham, Wa., to see his kids, and grandkids. Plus trips to different states for different reasons. One of these days, my wheels will just FALL off !!! Don't get me wrong – we have a LOT of fun on these trips. We meet lots of neat people, and make lots of great friends along the way!

Now – maybe, if Denny would sit still long enough, some nice lady could drive a nail through one foot, and I could have a nice home with a BIG garage and a – never mind He's got me on "high test" and my mind wonders from time to time. Hey, I have my fantasies too you know!!

OK – well, would you believe in '99 Denny moves to Poway and gets a (hang on to me) REAL JOB!!! You know, show up at 8 a.m., leave at 5 p.m., Monday though Friday, pay check every Friday thing!!!! Several of his friends are still in therapy over this deal!! I hope they get better soon!! This, has also contributed to all of the things that have been done to me over the past year, and more to come!!! I just LOVE it!!

As you can see, we have had a very full life!! Time, along with age, blended in with relationships, has mellowed Denny to a point where my life is a lot easier. He still looks at pretty women, he just can't remember why. Don't be going over there and reminding him why, either! Life has taught him many lessons, and you can learn a lot being around him. I'd skip anything concerning women, or finances, however! Denny says, "that when ever something goes wrong with a relationship with a woman – there are only two things a man can do – and neither of them help!!"

He did tell me he has found FOUR things to make life work for you.

(1) Laughter – is the greatest medicine,

(2) Forgiveness – the best healer,

(3) Success – the sweetest revenge,

(4) Friends and family, are the greatest riches you can acquire!!!!

I think I agree with him!!

Well, – that's my story up to this moment in time. There are lots of roads I have yet to travel, and beautiful places, yet to see. And, – if Denny will keep his eye on the road, and both hands on the wheel, I'll have a good chance to have many more adventures!!! If it is possible for man and machine's souls to intertwine, Denny and I have done just that!!

In closing, I hope that all your traffic lights are green; your fuel gage always full. And that you always find a parking spot up close. May your speedometer always show less miles than you've been, your motor always start and run smoothly. Remember to accelerate slowly, and brake easy. Signal, when you are going to turn. Look where you're going, or go where you're looking. And, as you go down life's highway, may you avoid the holes, and the HENRY has been seen at Escondido's Cruise Night since 2000. bumps. Now – as you travel down life's highway, take the time to enjoy the beauty of the scenery, and of the people you meet. It's NOT the destination, – it's the JOURNEY!! And remember, a BIG part of that beauty – is YOU!!! May the 'Great Spirit' always be with you, and get you to your destination safely!!!

This story is written for your enjoyment, and will hopefully bring a smile to you from within. If you enjoyed it (or not) I would like to have your feedback.

This article was written by Henry the Panel truck on behalf of Denny DuVall

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