Cousin Dooley and his sleek, black 1950 Mercury

Article Image Alt Text

Perhaps junior high age boys aren’t as gullible and impressionable as they were when I was that age.
In my hometown, one campus served both the high school and the junior high, grades 7-12, with 210 students total. If you wanted to be the Big Man on Campus (BMOC), you either had a really long wait or it was never. The latter was the norm.
I was in my first year on that campus, located on Main Street that also doubled as U.S. Highway 84.
During that year, I had a big boost in my status (at times, at least) since my cousin Dooley lived in a rooming house cat-a-corner from the campus. Dooley had returned from military service, had gone to work for the railroad and had bought himself a brand new black 1950 Mercury 2-door.
When he was off the job, he’d cruise around the campus and “drag Main” in that sleek Merc. And, if I was lucky, I got to ride with him and improve my social standing, particularly with the girls, or so it seemed. In 7th grade, a giggle from your “favorite girl,” elicited a major case of puffy chest. And, if you could wave at ‘em from the window of that “cool” car, well they looked at you as if you were King Kong or at least that’s how it felt.
At that time, most people in my hometown picked out a service station where they did all of their car fueling, maintenance and detailing. Dooley traded at a Humble (now Exxon) downtown. A young, slender man for whom I only knew a nickname — Pencil, which he’d been given for obvious reasons — always waited on Dooley. He took a liking to Pencil and made sure he was manning the pumps when the black Merc went in for gas, oil or lube.
Dooley often drove in, asked Pencil to get in the car and took him for a ride.
On one such occasion, 13-year-old me was riding with Dooley and he got a wild notion. I only had two tips: “Willis, get in the back seat,” and “Pencil, you sit up here and help me watch for things.”
Since Dooley was “the cat’s meow” (today’s interpretation would be “way cool”), neither of us questioned him. He instructed Pencil: “Watch the gauges for me, especially the speedometer and be on the lookout for the Highway Patrol. I gotta watch the road.”
Then, Dooley proceeded out U.S. Highway 84 toward Mexia, which was “wet” for beer. There was no liquor-by-the-drink except in private clubs in those days.
I just settled in the back seat and watched “the show.”
As soon as we hit the city limits, Dooley pressed the gas pedal a little more forcefully. In a few seconds, he asked, “How fast we goin’ now, Pencil?”
“You doin’ 60, Dooley.”
He mashed a tad more on the accelerator.
“How fast we goin’ now, Pencil?”
“Uh, y-y-you doin’ 70, Dooley.” (The speed limit was 55 in the early 1950s.)
So, Dooley pushed a lot harder on the gas pedal. “How fast we goin’ now, Pencil?”
“Y-y-yo-you doin’ 85, Duh-Dooley.”
Same game.
“Y-y-y-yo-you doin’ ni, ni, ninety-five, Doo-Duh-Duh-Dooley.”
Pedal to the metal.
“Y-y-y-y-yo-yo-you d-duh-d-doo-in uh hun-hun-hun-uh and tuh-tuh-10, D-Duh-Doo-Dooley.”
At that point we’d arrived at Dooley’s favorite beer joint. He didn’t have to ask Pencil to get out and get them a beer.

To read the entire story, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet