Each month when the "HOOVER RAIL" reaches me it brings on periods of reflection
in which I go back several years to the time I spent at home as a boy. For several
issues you dads, back home have vjritten to us who are away and now perhaps it is time
for some of us to let you know that v;e are thinking of the folks back home.
Well do I remember the penalties inflicted when some wish of yours T/as violated.
My most conmon method of escape came though by using an age old ruse. When all per
suasion had failed I would often walk out the door with a look of innocence and an
air of good intentions. However, as soon as I v;as out of sight what could happen ex~
cept that I managed to catch the truck loaded with local base ball players and climb
on board. As .you remember Tod Caldwell and others took the boys over each night for
two or three hours of practic. Naturally you had said that I was too small to do such
things, but I had other ideas, I'^'hen darkness came v;e all grouped on the old red truck
for the return trip. Just as we crossed the bridge each time, I had to be let off so
that I could come sneaking in as though I had boen -s^ithin calling distance all the
while. Questions sometimes revealed that you were suspicious but each time you were
unable to muster enough proof of'such underhand actions on my part.
As the years passed and I grew rapidly to the exalted place of a freshman in high
school, self importance began to creep upon me. Very soon ideas o|^ driving the car
came to me more and more frequently. At first you were adamant and at the time I tho
ught that you were the hardest dad a feller ever had. Gradually a softening up pro
cess took place and at last you drove over to the ball park road for my first lesson
in driving, flhen I slid over under the v;heel of the old Chrysler the motor sounded
much like a modern bomber on the take off. Then you asked me if I knev/ what to do
first, "Sure", v/as the ready reply. Now I can toll you that I didn’t have the least
idea what to do. After fumbling with this and that for some time you shoved the gear
into position with what sounded like a disgusted grunt. Suddenly and without any
warning our heads left their moorings and our feet came up to the top, A series of
short high rabbit hops followed Vvhich left me scared in addition to being dizzy from
the violent leaps we had been through. It was with much persuasion that I finally
.oucccedcd in getting you to proceed v/ith the lesson at the risk of having no car.
The next years were spent while you rode beside me giving constant advico. Inevitably,
the day came when I wanted to drive into Shelby where traffic was heavier and beset by
stop and go signals. Since I was too young to secure a driving license, your reply
was alvjays a firm refusal. I decided to bide my time and the day came when you dozed
off on the way to Shelby and awakened to find yourself in the car v;hich was parked
close to the main block of Shelby, That broke ycur resistance and from then on I al
ways drove down to "town" each and every Saturday afternoon.
The next great step came when I wanted to have the car for a date with my best
girl friend. When you ultimately gave in to me you relinquished many rights you had
previously held in regard to driving. The mileage soared unbelievably and from then
on any night driving you planned was subject to opposition from me backed by my best
So you see I recall vividly the rer.ring you gave me and today I salute you for
Affectionately, your son.
Pvt, Ralph Eaker