Meet Delta…my 1951 F-1, Ford pickup!

“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.

I climbed into a pile of old tools to get this picture.

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…

70 comments to Meet Delta…my 1951 F-1, Ford pickup!

  • Jennie Slater

    Loved reading about the beginning of Delta…the character that is. Can’t wait to read the finished book. Keep writing, I thrilled I can learn things about you I never knew. Oh…and good luck with the truck. j

  • Edna

    You’ve got a wonderful website—very attractive. Of course I love your garden photos and I love Delta’s portrait. I can’t wait for her to come home!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Edna, its been fun putting the website and blog themes together! Its comforting to have your input today! Thanks for always being near and never too busy to listen to all my bright ideas. Cheers, Jink

  • Barb

    Love your new website, Jeanna- my talented friend!!! Can’t wait for more!!!

  • Ginger

    Kevin Ford, you’ve got to be kidding… I sure hope I can finagle a ride in ole Delta once she come home.. What a great story!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Ginger, you can’t make this stuff up!! Kevin Ford literally fell into my life! (It had to be a sign.) I love your enthusiasm!! You make me want to try harder! Hugs!! More to come…jink willis

  • Linda

    Reading this to me over the phone was great but seeing it in print was spectacular!! You go girl!! I’m sure Delta doesn’t have a/c so only a true Southern gal would ride in it… Not one of your Yankee friends like me.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Linda, remember the first draft I sent you? You were kind–you read it! Thank you for your wonderful support down through the years!!! The best is yet to come! jink willis

  • Love the descriptive photos with on your first entry. Really helps tell Delta’s story. Can’t wait to follow her/your journey!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Karey, after following your success as a photographer for years, I’ve learned the importance of an image. Thank you for your patience and devotion as a friend–all those times I called on you! Yep, Delta and I will be riding through this stage of the journey together.

  • Kristal Johnson

    Seems like our generation in a broad sense has always been obsessed with cars. It might be a cultural tag fading in our kids’ but then, I am always astounded to see how many of them tattoo their hides with images no doubt meaningful at 25 which could lose their cool, iconic impact at, say, 40. I have one young friend with pictures of bicycle parts in ink, and another with broccoli on her arm. Cars, you can change.

    I ENJOY knowing a woman with a hankering for a 1951 truck! And I must say you are not exaggerating about the ATTITUDE that grew in you driving that white pick-up, it was so funny to me to see the subtle alterations in your speech, the different clothes you wore, yes your hair wild, windows down… the Delta in you. The Delta character in TRFBS has got to be everyone’s favorite, the weathered-but-beautiful Earth Mother… She is like the female equivalent of Gus in the McMurtry western saga, a rich reduction of the character traits we women find significant.

    NEXT April I’ve got a “wildflower peeper” drive for you and Delta!! It’s a loop out of Fredericksburg, her old roaming grounds perhaps. I played hooky yesterday and made the drive with friends, it was like driving through a Monet painting if he had done Cowboy scenes. Drifts of colors! Had us jotting notes in the margins of flower identification books. This is my freshly discovered passion to share, it was fabulous. Let’s celebrate the release of the Road from Beulah Springs in 2013 with a Hill Country/Delta weekend!! p.s you’ll have to wear those red boots too.

    I like the look and feel of your site! It is very “Jink!” More photographs, please! The Angel Hunt blog? There are some cool old graveyards on the way out there, too… I’m getting a camera!! xokj

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Kristal, you know where all the bodies are buried! Wouldn’t trade that Delta stage with you for nothing! Whew, what a ride! (I still like me some fast driving on the back roads!) Stay tuned for the new and improved version–Delta rides again! Hugs, buddy!!! jink

  • Jan Buckner

    Jink! What a fabulous blog. I CANNOT contain myself until 2013 to read your book. PLEASE keep the quotations coming, the fleshing out of your characters through your blog. They are the story of my Southern roots. Through them (and you), I am released. So looking forward to more of the journey. And Kevin Ford is clearly a sign :-i)

    I am blessed~

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Jan, if Kevin Ford knew he was going to be featured in my first blog, he’d have grabbed a comb from his shirt pocket and given those tresses a once over! Now he’s forever stretched out, pulling on Delta because he let his crane’s battery die. Hmmm…what does that tell us? So happy to have you with me on this journey! I will help you sink those southern roots even deeper! Cheers! jink

  • Sheila Christensen

    Jink, Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog with me! Your website is easy to navigate and the photos and storyline make be hanker, as we Southerners say, for more! After reading your delightfully descriptive blog, I am so anxious to read your book. Hurry 2013!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Sheila, *hankering* is what some of us do best! It’s wonderful to have your support as I finish TRFBS! I appreciate your kindness and your words of encouragement! I hope you’ll ride with me when Delta is finished! Hugs, jink

  • Love this post, Jink. And love Delta ever since reading TRFBS. You’re living your story, getting into its skin. That’s where the ring of real authenticity comes from.

    The website is fabulous, too. Love the look and posts like this one are so intriguing and perfect for creating the pre-pub book buzz. You’re on the right road, gal. Everything is working to create the perfect book launch. I’m so excited for you!


    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Barbara (Bobbi), thank you for believing in TRFBS! Your edit is pushing me forward and your comments are adding value to the story! I so appreciate you as a mentor and a friend! As I watch you reach your goals in publishing, I am encouraged and happy to have you as a role model! You remind me of the quote: Life is not about finding yourself–its about creating yourself! Yes!!! XXX jink

  • Pam Ray

    Jink, Love your website, and Delta’s new home!! I have so enjoyed watching TRFBS grow from you, over the years. The photo’s are great at bringing Delta to life! I look forward to following your blog, and can’t wait for TRFBS in 2013! So happy for you !

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Pam, thanks for your interest in TRFBS and Delta’s story. Its going to be great to have the truck restored–can’t wait!! Thanks for all your encouragement over the years! (You have to go junkin’ with me!) jink

  • Terri

    Jink, what a beautiful website! Once again, you have shown us your many gifts and talents in such an incredible way. I love the beautiful painting of Delta — the artist did capture not just a vehicle but so much of how you describe Delta. I can’t wait for my first ride in Delta!

  • Jink Willis Jink Willis

    Terri, you are the best, always supportive when I need it the most! Recharged, started the last edit and hope to indie publish next year! My goals are out there–now I will work to make this happen! Thank you for the years of support, reading for me and most of all–always believing in the girl! Whew! the journey continues…jink

  • claudine

    What a fun read, Jink. How great to buy from the original dynasty. Love the story hints. Can’t wait to see her finished!

  • Wonderful website, Jink, and I loved reading about your journey with Delta! All the best with The Return to Beulah Springs!

  • Jink + Delta –> an unbeatable driving force!

    Congrats on the new website. It’s fabulous . . . just like you.

    Drive/write on. :) xo

  • Fred Hinegardner

    Great job on your new website and blog, Jink. It perfectly reflects your good and energetic self.

    By the way, you’re not the only one with an affinity for ’51 pickups. When I was eight or so, I built my first camera (a toy) from bits and pieces of junk lying around. The core of the camera was half of the universal joint from a ’51 International pickup. I went around “taking pictures,” and then my oldest sister took a real picture of me with it. It wasn’t until about 30 years later, while attending the National Professional Photography Convention in Dallas that she gave me that photo. I’d long since forgotten it existed.

  • Love it, love it all! Website, Delta, your garden photos…just wonderful!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Amanda, so excited to hear from you! I love your books, especially Graveyard Queen series! Thank you for the encouraging words! Xo, jink

  • The hidden artist in me, salutes the graceful artist in you. LUHV this. It touches that place deep inside and creates joy… I’m a fan.. officially….

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Shirlise, I’m well aware of the artist in you!! (You bloom in violet rays.) Thank you for your lovely expression of joy–I am humbled. XXX jink

  • Martha

    I just love it all!

  • Oh my, Jink! What a wonderful first post! What a beautiful truck! What great photos and description and artist’s rendering! What a wonderful website and blog!

    Your future is bright. Your fans will be many. I’m glad I was here at the start of your blog posts!

    Suggestion: Go to and consider having your blog automatically feed into an account at Open Salon (other than an initial free account set-up, you don’t have to do anything). This is what I do with Appalachian Morning and it works very well and garners me readers I might not otherwise get. It is a very welcoming community there as well.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Janice, I am tickled to have you as a friend; you came at a very good time for me. Thank you for sharing your thought on the blog site with me! Hugs! jink

  • Monever


    Love, love, love your website!!! It is truly a reflection of your many talents; it is so YOU !! I love the painting of Delta and can just pictue you tooling around in her – a woman and her truck.
    Can hardly wait to read TRTBS when it comes out next spring! Thank you for sharing your blog site with me. You never cease to amaze and inspire!
    Luv ya,

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thank you Monever! The site was truly fun to put together–sort of like a scrap book. Its amazing how this project just gets more and more fun, branching out and taking over my life! But I’m not complaining! Hang a little longer with me–I promise TRFBS is coming. XX jink

  • Fun website, wonderful blog. Looking forward to getting to know Delta (and you) better!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thank you Pat! So happy to have you stop by to meet Delta! She’s the main character in the *next* book in the Beulah Springs series–couldn’t get her out of my mind. Hope to chat with you soon! jink

  • Lorrie Thomson

    Love your website, the sound of your upcoming novel, your truck, everything.Amazing that you made a real-life connection with the woman who painted Delta so beautifully.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Lorrie, thank you for stopping by my website! I had a blast putting this together, finding the truck and taking pictures along the way. ( I didn’t know at the time that I would blog about the old girl. ) Finding Kathleen was a leap of faith, just connecting and trusting in the other. I’d love to chat with you sometime. jink

  • Vicky

    Jink, Always leave me wanting more! I love the poem on the first page! Website is classy just like you! (Can’t stop using exclamations!) I’ve fallin’ in love with Delta, the truck! Jink, you are the main character I root for and love sitting in the passenger seat of your journey you seem to enjoy everyday! Give me more, MORE!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Vicky, I will give you *MORE* if it takes the rest of my life! LOL. Thank you for being my delightful, crazy friend, given to me by social media! ‘) Can’t believe I ever lived without your wild-child fever! Soon, I will drive Delta to Fort Worth and we’ll have us a “Texas Angel Hunt”. Keep writing!! jink

  • Love the website and your blog, Jink. Both are so you.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Pat, I’m so happy to hear from you! You know how much work goes into writing, well, blogging is such a release, something on the page, the fun part! I have enjoyed reading R & R for months! Hope to see you soon! jink

  • Pam Ray

    Wow, I love all the new quotes you’ve added to your website. Karla . Jaye , Flora, all so intriguing.
    I’m really enjoying your website and look forward to reading more !!

  • OH, I want that TRUCK! :-D

    I love your website, Jink — love love love it!

    And looking forward to reading your book next year –yay! *smiling*

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thank you, Kathryn! I love having you visit! Enjoying your new blog as well! Yep, the truck is cool, huh. Been watching the transformation and loving this ride! Hope to meet you and the twins real soon! Whew! Its great to connect with a southern writer! Love , jink

  • Carol Giddens

    Love your new blog Jeanna. That truck is fantastic! Dennis is always telling me that I need to get a truck. My car is always full of treasures. congratulations on following your heart’s desire.Looking forward to reading more.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thanks Carol! It’s been a rocky road at times but I plan to dig on through! It’s great hearing from you! Hope to see you this summer as we’ll be in Milledgeville a lot! Maybe you could come visit me at Dogwood! :) Love ya, buddy! jink

  • Brandon Williams

    The website looks great! You have keen eye for photography as well. If the journey is this good, I know the book will be amazing. Cheers

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thanks Brandon!! I like how you think!! This is turning out to be a lot of fun!! Feel free to help me garden–anytime! ;) Hugs, jink

  • Jay

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!! It’s so vivid and I feel like I’m really there. I can’t wait for the book, I’m sure I’ll read it over and over again.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Jay, I love having you read this–you inspired so much of Jaye’s character in THE ROAD FROM BEULAH SPRINGS! Love you, sweet friend!jink

  • Pam Ray

    I love the garden addition to your website. All the hard work you have done over the years, really is showing it’s beauty! I love the new photo’s , just a little snippet of the grand garden!

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thanks Pam!! You are always so sweet to let me show you my latest bloom!! Love having you be a part of this writer’s journey ! HUGS!! jink

  • Okay this is the first blog I have EVER done! Can you believe that! Amazing site, I just had to write. Can’t wait to see the truck!!! Anxiously awaiting the book release. Mylene

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Mylene, I am so excited to be your first blog post! :’) Told you it was filled with *good stuff*! Thanks for your participation and I’m ticked you’re subscribed to receive the next: Find Your Junking Gypsey…

      Will be driving Delta the next time I see you! Thank you for the great support!!! jink

  • Cheryl

    Loved seeing the house staging and also learning how it relates to your book. Also, can’t wait to see the restored Delta! Enjoyed the beautiful pictures on the site and will be waiting for the book.

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Thanks Cheryl! I’m very happy to have you follow my blog–very excited to share The Road From Beulah Springs in small bits for now! Stay tuned–next blog–Finding Your Junkin’Gypsey…

  • maija thornton

    in all these years we have been friends you never cease to amaze me.

    you have never been afraid to go into uncharted territory, like your determined dump truck.
    you make things happen in your life and make a difference in others lives. To make a nice place to be is happiness.

    “There are people who take the heart out of you , and there people who put it back”/ Elizabeth Davis
    you are a put it backer

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Maija, you know how to humble me!! :”) Thank you for those very kind words–my Dad would have lapped them up and smiled big. If you remember–32+ years ago, you were there when I began the *interiors* journey and I grabbed all your great decorating tricks! You were my very first mentor!! I remember more than one time when you rescued me! Thank you for always being there! Big bear hugs!! j.

  • Maria D.

    Hi there –

    I am currently restoring a 1951 Ford F-1 that was in very poor condition. Someone started to try a restoration and their idea of giving the truck new life was not my idea! My friend made me a sketch of the finished truck and I look at that every day and can’t wait to have time to work on her. So glad I found your page.

    Best of luck,

    • Jink Willis Jink Willis

      Hi Maria! So happy to hear from you! I should get Delta back very soon and will be send out a new post about her! Hope you subscribed to my blog so we can stay in touch! Hang tight! It’s going to be worth the effort! :)

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