Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Birthday To TheGentlemanFarmer

My dad, whom I affectionately refer to as TheGentlemanFarmer was born on February 18, 1924. I love him and miss bouncing ideas off his intelligent being since he left us to join a whole bunch of other cool folks in 2003.

Anyway, last week I did a post over on Hooniverse, a car related blog I contribute to on a semi regular basis. I thought those of you Counting Along With Me might enjoy reading up on just some of the cool stuff he owned in his lifetime. And how he was able to that on a journalist's income is still a mystery to me.

Alas, one this olelongrooffan won't be able to solve in my lifetime.

Anyway, it's directed toward the Hooniverse audience but those of you Counting Along With Me will get it also. I hope all y'all enjoy it and remember to take every opportunity to

Celebrate Life.

Here it is. By the way, the "pseudo folksy" writing style I refer to is something a couple of critical commenters mentioned early on in my blogging career over there.



Once again, I must offer my apologies to my fellow Hoons. As usually seems to be the case, this olelongrooffan just couldn't stop once I got started so be prepared for some more of my rambling ways. And yes, it is kind of "pseudo-folksy"

Allow me to start out by saying that longroofs have had a fond place in the heart of this olelongrooffan since I was a mere toddler. The first one I remember was this '65 Country Squire dad owned when we moved to the Queen City of the Ozarks from St. Louis.



A ways back, the esteemed Mr. Brennan did a Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday post about a longroof that triggered this whole thought process and one this olelongrooffan fondly remembers from my youth. I had thought that any image of it was lost during the settlement of my folks estates but, thankfully, this olelongrooffan was pleasantly surprised to receive an image of it from one of my older brothers, the Bus, recently and I thought I might share it with my fellow Hoons.



Now longroofs have played an important role in my folks life. When my Mom was a mere teenage hottie, her dad had this cool old woodie wagon. As I've said previously, I really believe this is why my dad married her.



Early in their married life, just after my dad built the brick house in the background, he was hooning around Shrewsbury, Missouri in this awesome Willys Station Wagon.



As his brood continued to enlarge, he acquired this ultra sweet Mercury longroof complete with wood siding. This was one beautiful automobile and my older brothers still talk about that creature with reverence.



Alas, as my Mom continued to pop out kids to the tune of one every two years, the decision was made to move from conventional longroofs to the ultimate longroof, a Volkswagon Microbus, of which my folks owned two at the same time. The first ones sold in the greater St. Louis area. Yeah, that is Mom and Dad in the above photo with my brother, thejeepjunkie, resting comfortably awaiting his entry into this world in a few months time and, undoubtedly, dreaming about all of the vintage CJ's he would eventually wheel and deal.



A few years later, my dad accepted a position as the founding editor of a Roman Catholic newspaper in southern Missouri and the entire clan moved lock, stock and barrel to the Ozarks. That is thejeepjunkie hamming it up in the above photo while this olelongrooffan is watching those movers work while almost simultaneously walking off the tailgate on the rear of that vintage moving van.



My dad, who always seemed to have a Hoonworthy car, drove that soon to be damaged '65 the five hours down Highway 66 towing the "A" he, thejeepjunkie and I later partially restored.



One of the favorite past times of our clan at the time was camping. I mean with ten kids on a journalist's income, there is not a bunch of discretionary income available for spending on amusement park tickets nor on hotel rooms. Mom's daily driver '65 was commissioned as the transport vehicle to Table Rock Lake dang near every weekend during the spring, summer and fall months. The green '62 Belair to the right in the above photo belonged to my grandmother, yes Granny, and had a two speed transmission mated to a 283 (IIRC) engine. Ah, the things I think I remember from my youth. My grandfather, his name was Man, drove a '56 Belair post at the time.



After Mom's '65 recorded 98,000 miles on its clock, Dad traded it in on a similar '67 Country Squire, one of my favorite all time vehicles. I remember thejeepjunkie and I riding in the back back on the way to the lake and rushing to be the first to identify an oncoming vehicle. I damn near always won, something my younger brother still talks about to this day.



The '67 even spent some winter time with my Dad and a couple Catholic priests playing in the snow. The dude on the left, Fr. Bob Landewe, is a lifelong family friend and performed both Mom and Dad's funeral services many years ago.



While my older brother was overseas in southeast Asia defending freedom seekers, my folks decided to divest themselves of dad's project "A",



and sell the recently acquired tent trailer and



the big house in the city and shuck it all for



this truck and a 173 acre farm. Yeah, we were Green Acres and the Beverly Hillbillies combined. Yeah, the wheel even fell off TheGentlemanFarmer's tractor.



However, my folks did stay in touch with their city friends, including Else Watson who drove this wedge off the showroom floor back in this country's bicentennial birthday year.



And lest my fellow Hoons think living on a farm is a breeze, check out the load of hay on that old Sweptline. This is not a staged shot. We four boys, two of them city kids, thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan, hauled that hay from "Dad's field" (the biggest one) and tossed it into that little square hole on the second floor of that old oak barn.



And my dad, now known as TheGentlemanFarmer, was able to stumble his way into the ownership of yet another Hoonworthy automobile to add to his collection. This DS21, a 71 Dodge pickup, a 51 Ford stepside pickup, a Buick LeSabre, a Ford longroof, and



this tractor along with assorted tractor impliments made up the vehicular livery my dad called his own. And I'll bet my fellow Hoons thought I was lieing about that wheel falling off.



And mom continued to grill dinner for her brood nearly every night. Only now it was beef, pork, mutton and veggies harvested right there on "Haven Lee Farm."

Now about this time, this olelongrooffan can hear my fellow Hoons screaming "What the hell does this have to do with Mr. Brennan's post about a Plymouth longroof?"

Well, I'll tell ya. When my folks decided that we "four little kids", as we are known as to this day and I am the oldest at 52 and the baby is 46, needed to have proper schooling (read Catholic school education) they decided to sell most of the farm and move back to the city. During that move, my dad bought his last longroof.



That's correct my fellow Hoons. A 1976 Plymouth Gran Fury Sport Suburban. Maroon with the requisite vinyl wood siding and a light cream vinyl interior. Yes, it was powered by a gas sucking 440 that roared whenever this 16 year old longrooffan would punch the accelerator. Man it was fun but my dad was always, and I mean always, bitching about its fuel consumption. I think he secretly knew why though. And that chicken in the above photo? When we moved back to the city, it was to three acres of semi woodlands just 12 blocks from the downtown square. My folks had grown accustomed to farm fresh eggs so a few of those hens and a rooster or two made the move with us. Yeah, it's hard to take the hillybilly out of an Ozarkian, even transplanted ones.



Shortly thereafter, dad's DS21 decided to cease running and he sold it to a dentist out in the Mile High City and dad decided that shortbed Blue Oval pickups were to be his newest Hoonworthy rides. He bought this '67 in 82 and then an '80 a few years later. The rear end of the farm owned 51 pickup can be seen in the background of this photo.



And my folk's camping desires resurfaced so dad picked up this Mobilux motorhome to satisfy those desires. Man, there are a ton of stories about this brown campercar this olelongrooffan will share with my fellow Hoons someday. Yeah, google image image "Mobilux" and see how many show up. Prior to my getting the above image, I did and there was exactly one. A powder blue one. Just think, with the publication of this post, the population of Mobiluxes on the net will double!



As Dad got older and over his love for shortbeds and '66 Bonnevilles and Catalinas, he downsized substantially and picked up this Fix It Again Tony for Hooning around in. But see those wagons he built in the foreground? He, much like this olelongrooffan, just couldn't stay away from woody wagons. Dad presented the smaller one to my, now 17 year old daughter, on her birthday. Not for her birthday but on her birth day in 1995.

RIP to TheGentlemanFarmer and thanks for the vehicular influence you provided to this olelongrooffan. And for the "pseudo-folksy" writing style you provided to this olelongrooffan to share with my fellow Hoons.

4 comments:

Busplunge said...

thumbs up.

Horse-farmer said...

Way to go, keep the journalism coming, Dad is proud....

Bushwacker said...

I'm sure wherever your dad is right now, he is so much proud of you, he raised you in excellence! Happy birthday to him!


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Anonymous said...

Hi! Nice post. I'm the owner of the powder blue Mobilux online. Nice read and great pics.
Tim