“Great love and great achievements involve great risk…”
Welcome to Perfect Settings, my new blog! I hope to share my passions and hopefully, inspire others to open their hearts to find their own hidden layers–yet unexplored!
Today’s post is centered around a pick-up. Not just any old truck, but one driven by a character from The Road From Beulah Springs. Meet Delta…my 1951 F-1, Ford pickup!
For years, I wanted a truck!
Someone asked why, someone who knew me and should have known.
I pursed my lips, ready to defend. “I need a truck to drive around, pick up plants and stuff. Take on junking trips, haul my own stuff home for a change.”
I wanted my own truck.
During that time, I was beginning the rough draft for The Road From Beulah Springs. And before I knew it, a secondary character named Delta emerged. A dark, willowy woman, part Cherokee, Delta was without roots or social reform. She made her home and her living at a truck stop southeast of Macon on I-16 and she drove a 1951, F-1, Ford pick-up. A keeper of broken wings, Delta took in strays, young and old, mostly men who’ve been knocked around by bad luck. She gave them shelter, nurtured them, shared chores—and sometimes her bed. After witnessing an injustice that shook her to the core, Delta took in a child whose life had been a living hell.
Below is Delta’s first appearance in The Road From Beulah Springs…
A commotion at the rear of the church sent gasps and waves of whispers across the packed congregation. Karla turned and peered over the pew, wiping a string of dirty hair from her face. A dark, willowy figure pushed past the ushers, her arms held like avenging swords. Her hair was long and it swished from side to side as she charged the center aisle, not backing down when the Reverend shouted, “Stop sinner!”
Karla bowed her head, feeling the Reverend’s scorn as he pounded the podium, believing his wrath was aimed at her. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. Cringing, Karla jerked forward but the hand held tight. She turned, looking up into a white starched shirt with Delta’s Truck Stop printed across the front.
Delta reached down and drew Karla near; her eyes glared into the pulpit, coiled in anger. Slowly, she turned her body to face the congregation. In an effortless drawl that rolled across the benches, she accused, “Damn fools.”
While developing Delta’s character, I borrowed a white utility truck to drive around. Suddenly, I was wearing my hair wild, speeding through yellow lights, hanging my arm out the rolled- down window—in general, confusing myself with this fiery woman as I stayed in character.
By the time I finished the rough draft, I knew I had to have a truck like Delta’s.
I had to have one.
With the help of a vintage enthusiast, I found exactly what I was looking for in Schulenburg, Texas. The owner and I emailed back and forth, negotiating the price, me prying into the history of the truck and getting more and more interested. I learned the Stahl family was not only the original truck owners, but also descendants of original Texas settlers.
I had to have that truck.
Quickly negotiating the price, I finagled passage (a driver and trailer) to the Stahl farm, two and a half hours away. Taking the scenic route, we headed northwest, down narrow back roads filled with potholes and trucks with black plumes of exhaust. With only one pit stop at a filling station with original Pepsi decals and a screen door that banged loud enough to alert the owner, we finally arrived at the Stahl farm.
Driving down a long dirt lane to the farmhouse, we quickly spotted Delta underneath a tin shed filled with farm tools. Holding my dog, Mojo, on my lap, I could barely contain my excitement. I was about to get my first look at Delta.
Chatting with Mr. Stahl, the son of the original owner, I learned more about the family and the history of the truck. Everything on the truck was original and only one spot of rust.
Okay, I admit the old girl needs a little work.
(This is what I saw using a camera+ App.)
I left with Mr. Stahl to go into Schulenburg to the courthouse to transfer the title into my name and to pay the sales tax. When we got back to the farm, Delta was loaded on a trailer, ready for the drive back to The Woodlands, Texas.
After an uneventful ride back (thank goodness), unloading Delta under my carport was nothing but fun and luck. She had no brakes!
One old girl to another, “What the heck do we do now?” After the truck sat under my carport for six weeks, I finally had a plan.
Meet Kevin Ford! (The name had to be a sign.)
As soon as I met Kevin and heard the enthusiasm in his voice I knew he was the one to restore Delta. The day he picked her up, one of my neighbors strolled over to thank him personally for taking her. I smiled, imagining how good Delta would look the next time she rolled down my drive. That’s when I met Katherine L. Wright, an American artist who figured out a way to live and paint in Italy. (Check out her website!)
Katherine is also a truck enthusiast. We met on Facebook after I drooled over one of her new paintings, a vintage truck she shared on her wall. I sent her my I-Phone/Camera+ App image and she quickly went to work on the sketch shown at the beginning of this post. I was overwhelmed. Katherine had managed to capture the spirit of Delta, my fiery character in The Road From Beulah Springs. Ecstatic, I quickly approved the sketch and Katherine finished the painting, sending it to the states with her son, visiting during the holidays.
Below is the final painting.
Now, the painful process of *waiting*…
Kevin and I will be meeting soon to tie down every decisions on Delta’s complete makeover. What color to paint the body, the original alpine blue or a brighter blue to show her true colors? Do I keep the cast iron, original 238, Flathead V-8 engine that weighs a ton or upgrade to a new Mustang engine that can fly “unencumbered” down the freeway. And…
What about *those* brakes?
The journey continues…