Hoon Tales: Country Squires, A CT70 And A Pontoon

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Way back when the Hooniverse Overlords decided to bestow this olelongrooffan a key to the vault that is Hooniverse, the venerable Blake Z. Rong and I exchanged a series of emails about content round these here parts. He encouraged this olelongrooffan to share some of my Hoon Tales and see what happens? Well, I did so and it seems this olelongrooffan did recollect a few Tales that some my fellow Hoons found enjoyable. Other Hoons? Maybe not so much. As such, I am always hesitant to share some of my personal Hoon Tales as, after all, this is not my personal blog. But then every time I express this trepidation to our Hooniverse Overlords, the response, thus far, has been a resounding, “If we don’t like something, we’ll let you know.” Well the last time I shared some of my ramblings, I was thoroughly surprised that so many of my fellow Hoons were so happy for this olelongrooffan and my career progress subsequent to the Recession of ’08. Having said that, if my fellow Hoons are interested in another, kinda all across the board, Tale from this olelongrooffan, please feel free to hang around and, perhaps, enjoy some more of this olelongrooffan’s ramblings. It’s gonna take a while and my fellow Hoons may want to wait until all ya’all are comfortably settled with a cold beverage before making the jump. And, once again, please excuse the wonkieness of the images as most are scans of decades old old school photographs and negatives. Please remember clicking on through is your option so no grumbling. OK?

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Previously I have shared how my dad, TheGentlemanFarmer, traded his longtime owned Model A for a 2,500 pound Black Angus bull with favorable results. Yeah, that old bull sired many calves prior to its being struck down by lightning out there in the middle of “Dad’s Field,” so named as it was the largest one on Haven Lee Farm.

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Allegedly, TheGentlemanFarmer related to my older brother’s that it was in a reproductive mode while struck by that lightning. That would make sense as out in the middle of that field, that cow mounted bull would be the tallest thing around as the closest tree was several hundred yards away. As demonstrated by the sighting of that treeline just beyond Dad’s pond.

Now, as I have previously shared with my fellow Hoons, prior to our moving lock, stock and barrel out to that rural farm, we were just a bunch of “city kids.” We lived on three acres on the second busiest corner in the Queen City of The Ozarks and that 65 Country Squire in the lede image was Mom’s, ironically the only person in my life without a third person name, daily driver. That magnificent magnolia tree just to the passenger side……

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well, it had several siblings and it was under this tree that this young olelongrooffan was chasing thejeepjunkie trying to get him off our gold Honda CT70 Mini Trail so I could have a turn on it. Well, under that magnolia was a upturned fireplace log insert he and I used to reach the first branch on our journey to the tip top of that tree. Well, this olelongrooffan blasted into that insert with my right knee and slashed it wide open. Yeah that event earned this olelongrooffan a visit to the immediately adjacent St. John’s Hospital emergency room where they had, on file, a blanket approval to treat any one of my family of ten without an adult present. Yeah, try that today. 

But yeah, that house was a three story, with a full basement, brick clad joy to live in. Had to be 5,000 square feet. The times I remember living there my three older brothers were off either in the seminary or defending this great nation of ours and my three older sisters ruled the roost. They had the third floor all to themselves and we lesser, “The Four Little Kids,”–which we still are to this day–had to make due with the second floor with the folks. But let this olelongrooffan tell ya, there was always a party going on on the main level.

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But aside from all that, my mom and dad always had something going on to entertain their brood. With a family of ten on a Roman Catholic journalist’s income, staying at the Ritz, or even the Drury Inn, was not in the budget for TheGentlemanFarmer. So what did parents do in the mid 1960’s in the Midwest do to keep their kids entertained in the summer months? I know what my folks did. We tent camped out, a lot.

And a note or two about this above image.

At the front door of that longroof? That would be my Mom getting ready to strap Baby Sister Joanie in the middle of that front bench seat with no car seat and thought nothing more about it.

See that line in the background to the left over the top of the neighbor’s now unknown puppy dog along that sidewalk? That is not a volleyball net but Mom’s outdoor clothes line where thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan hung the linen washed on a weekly basis to dry. And that angular piece of wood at the far left? That was the piece of 1″x3″ with a notch at the top that was a prop to hold the line up after we had loaded the formerly sodden linen on it to keep it from dragging on the ground.

That kid between that longroof and that Belair? That would be thejeepjunkie as this olelongrooffan would have been wearing an Oxford, camping be d*mned.

And a durable Styrofoam cooler.

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Sometimes even my Mom’s folks came down to join in the revelry. Above is an image of Mom’s mom, Granny, just enjoying all of the goings on with her grandkids. In the background you can spot her 62 Belair post sedan (307 with a two speed auto BTW) and her dapper husband, Man, with his signature boat captain’s hat, sailor striped shirt and two tone boat shoes. “MAN?” this olelongrooffan can hear my fellow Hoons asking. Yeah, Man was a train conductor on some railway system back in the day and was often gone for long periods of time. One time he returned and one of my older brothers, a kid at the time, asked my mom, “Who is that Man?” and the name just stuck. Seriously, this olelongrooffan just can’t make this sh*t up.

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And in the previous image is the dashboard of yet another one of my Dad’s fun toys to Hoon around. It’s a 63 red over white Corvair ragtop that he, unbelievably, managed to acquire while we were working on that old Model A and enjoy as this olelongrooffan was in my formative years. Yet another reason this Hoon is a Hoon. And what ever happened to high waisted britches?

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So it was a bit later in the day that this olelongrooffan’s extended family was headed down to Table Rock Lake to enjoy yet another weekend or so at Indian Point Campground. And as we kids always enjoyed tent camping out, Mom and Granny would always stop at the “on the way” vegetable stand to pick up some fresh veggies for them to grill out prior to Granny and Man heading back to the only motel in the area. Yeah, in that truncated image above, that is Mom, Granny, thejeepjunkie and an unknown 66 Chevy truck front end. In the background is just some now unknown Ozarks landscape.  Now, my fellow Hoons, Indian Point Campground is at the end of the road on which Silver Dollar City is located, just west of Branson, Missouri. Just to let my fellow Hoons know, the freshest memories this olelongrooffan has of Branson, Missouri is that it was a four way stop sign at the intersection of Highway 65 and Highway 76 with a Dairy Dreme, not Dairy Queen mind you but Dairy Dreme, on one corner and a Phillips 66 gas station on the other. And I refuse to head down that way these days as it will always be better as a Dairy Dreme corner. Yeah, this olelongrooffan is a “Get off my lawn” kinda old man.

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But do my fellow Hoons remember the CT70 Mini Trail this olelongrooffan alluded to earlier? Yeah this is it. It was transported from place to place via some clip on bumper devices on the back of my Mom’s daily driver ’67 Country Squire. And man, did it get moved around to some different spots.

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One time on a trip with Pops, we went down to the Trapist Monks Monastery over near Ava, Missouri. Dad had to cover some event those Brothers had going on and he thought we might get in some good ole Hoon time on our Mini Trail. He drug this olelongrooffan and thejeepjunkie along as my Dad always had a philosophy, of which I agree with to this day, “Never let your schoolwork get in the way of your education.”

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So dad, in his uncharacteristic cowboy boots and golf shirt with a pocket for his smokes, was able to get out and Hoon around that CT70 enjoying it just as much as this olelongrooffan. Surprisingly, I remember this like it was yesterday. I was the photographer of this old photo and was thoroughly flattered whenever Dad would put his 35MM Pentax in my hands and tell me, “Now you are capturing the memories.” Yes, Dad was a thoughtful and enabling kind of person.

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He then took his camera back from this olelongrooffan and gave me the keys to that old mini trail bike. I look at this negative Bus Plunge scanned from a bunch of negatives from Dad’s estate a whiles back. And what does this olelongrooffan notice first off? Well, Bus Plunge scanned this image backwards based on the sight of that 1971 Show Me State motorcycle tag. The other? See those two white spots on my butt? Back during this era, at least in my world, the cool guys had pants with no back pockets. Mom refused to purchase that style for me and thejeepjunkie, instead feeling that corduroys were better for us. Well, in a typical display of rambunctiousness, this olelongrooffan tore the rear patch pockets off my cords and, in doing so, left two holes where the top of the pocket was attached to those cords. Those white spots my fellow Hoons see? Those are my BVDs shining through! Yeah, the memories old photographs bring back to this olelongrooffan. And, BTW, sorry about that visual.

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Well, as I mentioned in that big house on the corner, my older sisters ruled the roost. A big sister, Trouble, piloting this bike in this image made no effort to interject with my baby sis Bill’s expression at their getting to Hoon around on our then favorite toy and her flaunting of that experience to thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan.

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As noted in the image of that CT70 on the rear end of that Pacific Blue Longroof Country Squire, it wasn’t long before Dad upgraded Mom’s daily driver to this 1967 beauty. This longroof is still today one of the more desirable longroofs for this olelongrooffan and it is probably the only one that might still be in my budget.

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But to get back to our tent camping. My folks, generally, had two categories of friends. Parents of other large, Roman Catholic families (ours had ten kids) and, given my Dad’s occupation in the Catholic Church, members of the clergy. This was in the late 1960’s and the Catholic Church was in an era of change, well, honestly, the entire United States was going through a huge social change. But at the lake, all was nearly forgotten and relaxation was the rule. Kids buzzed around while the adults just generally relaxed. Yeah, that is this olelongrooffan between that picnic table and that overhead F100 toting something or another around, probably at the direction of one of my older sisters.

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This olelongrooffan does remember, though, that most priests of that generation drove General Motors products, the younger ones mostly Chevrolets and as those priests aged, Buick was the ride of desire. However, during this era, seminarians chose what ever suited their fancy and, at least one of my older brother’s seminarian mates chose an Econoline as his means of transport.

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In this image of my Mom’s ’67 Country Squire, every man in this image is a Catholic priest and Mom is entertaining them as my two baby sisters sit on enjoying whatever tale she was spinning that day down in the Ozark Mountains. Oh yeah, off to the left is one of those priest’s 1970 Chevrolets peeking out behind one of the tents we used to sleep in on those campouts.

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And on the right of this image is a capture of the other tent necessary for my family to camp out. Yeah, two tents shared the world of my older brothers and sister’s world of tandem VW Micro Buses earlier in the decade. And around that picnic table in the background are a few of those priests with some of my siblings sharing a tale or two themselves.

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And while there were many communal cookouts and meals, there were also some solitary cookouts. I mean, a guy who drove an old Econoline for fun back in the day sure deserves a moment of introspection for his enjoyment.

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So, after a whiles, TheGentlemanFarmer tired of resting his weary body on the ground in a sleeping bag with a whole bunch of camp rats keeping him up all night with our shenanigans. So he decided to pick up a Starcraft Pop Up tent trailer for he and mom and my baby sisters to enjoy while thejeepjunkie and this olelongrooffan were relegated to one of the tents. My older sisters, when they weren’t out ’til all hours doing whatever teenaged girls do with the neighboring camping out boys do, slept in the other tent. 

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Round this time Pops also decided that Silver Dollar City and the road to Indian Point was just to d*mn busy on weekends for him to spend anytime relaxing. Yeah, fighting past the crowds heading to StealYourDollarCity to allow us to get down to our favorite campground was just over the top and way to stressful. With a longroof full of kids, ya think? So we started camping out over at Coombs Ferry campground. While just across the lake from Indian Point, a circuitous route circumnavigating the entirety of Table Rock Lake was required. But Dad felt it was worth it. That campground was a bit remote and soon thereafter, many of the camping families we hung with made the move with us.

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Dad also tired of the constant badgering of we kids to take us skiing or tubing (although these were authentic tractor tire tubes, not the fancy dancy tubes you get these days) behind the ski boat. So he decided enough is enough, sold that cathedral front runabout and bought a 32′ pontoon boat. Appropriately enough, the brand name of it was Party Barge.

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Another benefit of moving over to Coombs Ferry was that we were almost always rewarded with a waterfront campsite. Yeah this photograph is from onboard Dad’s new “mobile home of boats” and that is his new Starcraft Tent trailer parked on our waterfront spot. That ’65 F100 (with “Twin I Beam” proudly displayed on each of its front fenders) was thehorsefarmer’s ride while he was stationed over in Memphis at the Navy base they have there. Also of interest, well at least to this olelongrooffan, is Mom’s 67 longroof parked up above next to a fellow camper’s 64 post Chevrolet. That is thehorsefarmer on our CT 70 and the dude being his b*tch on the back was a 65 year old Catholic priest, Elmer Stolle, a long time family friend.

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And there was always a little eye candy around. This is thejeepjunkie heading up to give one of BBB’s ex-wives a big huge. Yeah, he knew it then as he does now, that is how to work it.

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Of course, after that big hug, a cool refreshment would be necessary for him and all of us. This olelongrooffan is certain thejeepjunkie is digging in that cooler to grab a cold Vess sodie pop. The only time we kids got individual cans of soda was when my grandpa would bring down cases of it on their bi-annual pilgrimage to visit his grandkids.

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Early one morning while this crowd was still snoozing, thejeepjunkie and I were fishing with our Zebco fishing poles from the lakebank. We were watching all these guys heading out through that fog in their fishing boats to get to their favorite fishing spot. Well, this olelongrooffan’s pole bent nearly in half! I started reeling that thing in and it turns out it was a 2 1/2 pound bass. Our screaming woke up the folks and they came on down just as I brought that bass to shore. “John David, you just caught breakfast.” Fifteen minutes later we were enjoying that fried bass along with our scrambled eggs and toast cooked over a campfire. I will always remember that day.

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So yeah, TheGentlemanFarmer treated we kids pretty d*mn well. No we each didn’t have a fancy car when we turned 16 nor did we always have the latest fashion in clothes but ya know what my fellow Hoons? This olelongrooffan wouldn’t change a thing about my growing up. And with a Pop who looked like this a lot, you know it was a blast.

 Image Copyright Hooniverse 2014/longrooffan

 

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