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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Size matters...or does it?

Brad Nelson Published on 01 April 2010

I always thought that the Ford Mustang automobile was the neatest thing since sliced bread. I even stopped by the Burke Huddleson Ford dealership in Nampa, Idaho, and looked one over closely.

It was one of the first Mustangs to arrive in Nampa. The salesman opened the door of the Mustang and invited me to see how it fit. I got in.

I got my fanny planted in the seat. I got my legs in position over the go pedal and the stop pedal. The salesman closed the door. Then he bent down and asked me through the open window how it fit.

I told him that it would not work. It seems that my head and the roof of the car were having a right-of-way dispute. The solution, as suggested by the salesman, was that I could always drive “hunkered over” a little bit. Not in this life.

About three visits back, which would be six or eight years ago, my southern son-in-law took me with to the Honda dealership to gather up the parts for a vehicle he was working on for a friend.

While Mark dealt with the parts guy, I surrounded a Honda two-seat sports car. It was correctly made, with the engine in the front and the rear wheels connecting the power of the engine to the road.

Of course the salesman wanted to send it home with me. I told him that it would never fit. He challenged me to try it. I did. I got in without using any bacon grease on my backside.

I got my feet down the tunnel to the tiny little stop, go and clutch pedals. The salesman closed the door. He asked how it fit. I told him that it was a little tight around the armpits.

Then I told him that I would need to open the door to make room for my left knee when I needed to use the clutch pedal.

The salesman told me that would work. I told him it would not work. He asked why not? I told him because the door latch was jammed between my knee and the steering wheel.

I could not open the door from the inside. About this time the salesman’s boss got concerned that I would damage the little car. I told the salesman to call me if the little Honda ever grew up.

A few years back I had a Ford Thunderbird for a couple of years. A 1994 model. It had either four or five seat-belts. It was marketed as seating either four or five.

My wife told everyone that when I was in the driver’s seat, that it would seat three. At least I could shove the seat back far enough to make my legs comfortable.

One day I noticed the same make and model of car driven by a short person. With the front seats moved forward so the driver could reach the stop and go pedals on the floor, there was room in the back seat area for the kids to have a soccer game.

My kids tell their friends that the only thing about my pick-up that is the same as when I got it is the title. A pick-up is meant to be personalized. If you do not personalize your pick-up it feels unloved.

Mine is a one-ton with a flat bed on it. I made it fit the driver by adding an air-ride driver’s seat from an 18-wheeler. Then I had to extend the gear shift lever to the height I wanted it.

Next was a C.B. radio, a scanner, a radar detector (so I don’t rear-end the guy ahead of me who dynamites the brakes every time his radar detector hiccups).

Then I noticed that the upper edge of the swept area of the windshield was just about my line of vision. The stock windshield wiper blades for my pick-up were 20 inches long.

I replaced them with 22-inch blades, and now my line of vision is nicely cleared of rain by the longer wiper blades. I changed a part inside the fuel injection pump that jumped the maximum power output from the stock 215 horsepower to about 340. (Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.)

The muffler went away and in its place is a five-inch straight pipe. (I had to do something to defend myself against the Harleys.)

I moved the driver’s and passenger’s seats on my 1996 Lincoln Town Car up one inch and back three inches. The extra space plus the six-way power seats made a good car into a perfect fit.

It had the same vision problem. It was cured by replacing the stock 22-inch wiper blade with a 26-inch blade. The car gets 22 miles to the gallon to town and back and around 25 on a trip. And it’s paid for.

If my luck holds out playing “dodge ’em” with the natives it may last me until my kids gang up on me and try to take away my car keys.

The guys at work are enough shorter than me that they think it’s funny that I put a low clearance warning sign on part of the machinery that they all walk under with no problem.

They are prone to open the overhead door between the shop and the plant high enough to walk under, but just the right height for me to crack my noggin’ on.

Some time back Luis, the crew chief, was first to go through the door. I followed, and then his brother Jose. We were in a hurry to get parts and pieces to fix a break-down.

After Luis cleared the door I hit it with my fist, and then placed my hand on my head and bent over as if I’d hit my head on the door.

Luis turned around to see me, the boss in pain – and his brother laughing. When he in a panic told his brother to not laugh, I couldn’t hold it anymore and cracked up. Then I showed Luis that I had hit the door with my fist and then acted injured. Luis asked me not to do that again.

By now most guys my size have discovered Cabela’s and Sheplers. About half of the shirts and jackets in their catalogs come in tall sizes, which is about 80 percent more than most retail stores carry.

I’m sure the fellows on the other side of the size scale have their own set of frustrations. One of my observations of life is that unless an individual is packin’ an attitude about his stature, no one really gives a rip how tall or short or fat or skinny a person is. “What matters is not the size of the man in the fight, but the size of the fight in the man.” I’d quote the source from which that came, but I don’t know it.

Years back I observed a scene when a different size may have made a difference. We (I don’t remember who was with me at the time) observed a very young and very pretty and very pregnant young lady with a “puppy on a string.”

Her dog was a miniature or teacup something or another. Its name was “Chewbacca,” named after the Star Wars character. She chatted with an acquaintance in our presence for just a moment and then left.

After she was safely out of earshot, one of my group made the comment that she should have had a bigger dog.  FG

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