This week’s story comes with a visual aid! The story is taken from a self-interview by Kerry Parker in April 1999. The topic was Ford trucks at Boxwell Reservation.
“But, another inter’sting point in those years when they had the Truck Drivers is the Truck Drivers took a special inter’st in their trucks. They would name their trucks. Now, I’m not sure exactly about the exact thing, but I do remember that the Parnell truck had the little horns, the little things on the front, were painted red and the name of the Parnell ton and a half truck was “the Parnell Panther.” And everybody, all the Scouts and everything, talked about The Parnell Panther. And it ground and done all the way around there and those two things painted red on the front, kind of gave it this thing of being like teeth or something like that. And everybody got a kick out of it. The grill was painted red too like a mouth or something like that, not a mouth but the little grill that goes across the front between the headlights. And those two things painted red in the front gave that implication that it was kind of like a mouth. Like it was a tiger, so it was called… But the Truck Driver had named it The Parnell Panther.
“Over at Stahlman, there was another truck identical too it – another F5 ton and a half flatbed Ford, ’51 model that was… On the front of it, it had the word “Clyde.” Now, for years and years and years, I thought the word “Clyde” was the name of the truck. It was called “Clyde.” I had an uncle whose name was Clyde Price, and he kinda moved kinda slow and to me that kinda fit the truck. Later on in the years, I find out, according to Charlie Ray and some of the rest of ‘em, there was a staff member who was a Truck Driver in the early sixties and his name was Clyde, and I can’t recall his last name, but I’m gonna try to look that up. And his name was Clyde, so apparently the name may have not been the name of the Truck necessarily as the name of the Driver in that particular case.
“On the doors of those trucks, there was, not on every one, but I think on one of ‘em, possibly more, there was a circular deal on there, that said “Boy Scouts of America” and in the middle of it, it said “Middle Tennessee Council – Boy Scouts of America.” And they were painted up on the door. Somebody, some staff member had painted those up.
“Now the trucks were so an integral part of camp and they were always running around and going here there and yonder and people being hauled here and there on ‘em, not necessarily Scouts, but mostly Staff. And, it was inter’sting. They were on the move all the time. If you needed something moved, you would go to the Office and say I need this platform moved and the Truck Driver, when he came back, why he’d jump in the truck and he’d go do that work. He might have to recruit some people or whatever, but that’s what he would do. Now he might come back and go do something else, and then the truck might be parked at the office for awhile, but if something came up that needed to be done, you went to the office boy and the office boy’d say “Okay, I’ll get the Truck Driver,” and he’d go down to the Truck Driver’s tent and get the Truck Driver and the Truck Driver’d come up there and get the Truck and… Now, you didn’t just jump in the Truck and drive it around. The Truck Driver, it was his truck and he was basically responsible for it to a large degree.”