Tribulation Spelled Ford Model T

Growing Up on Muddy Creek: A trying experience, or life with the Ford Model T


| July 2000



Ford Model T

Ford Model T

Webster defines tribulation as "a trying experience." In the days of my growing up on Muddy Creek, we spelled it "Ford Model T." 

Oh, the Ford Model T wasn't really that bad in retrospect. It got us there and got us there a heap of a lot faster than did Old Dobbin hitched to the one-horse shay. But when I think of the trials and suffering we had to endure in the name of progress, I am appalled that we survived.

Now it is quite likely that my readers, if there be such, are wondering what is old Piper talking about now? Well, sir, I am talking bout a vehicle. A vehicle whose progeny you are so dependent on these days that you suffer most any iniquity rather than lose your wheels.

I can well remember the days of the horse and buggy. The horizon of most families' worlds in those not-so-long-ago days was but a day's drive away, some 20 miles to a good horse. It was a major operation to curry, harness, and hitch the horse to the buggy, after removing the wheels and spreading the axles liberally with grease (the surplus of which was certain to find its resting place on your Sunday-go-to-meeting trousers), load up the family, be sure the charcoal heater was lit, the storm front snapped in place, the lap robe tucked round the baby, the barn door closed and the family dog tied up. Then with a snap of the whip, you were off, whoops ... you forgot to load the hitching weight. Oh well, you'll just have to use a convenient lamp post.

The motor car changed all that. Now you must realize that there were motor cars and there were Fords, and any resemblance between them was purely coincidental. However, they each required no feeding, no brushing and no stable cleaning. Just fill up the gas tank and away we went ... or did we?

I am an expert in Ford Model T lore, just as I am the expert on mules. I cut my eye teeth on each and have a speaking acquaintance with both T talk and Mulenease. But then, any of my peers who lived through the roaring 20s and the Depression of the 30s can boast the same.