The Buick and the bunny
Five hundred bucks. That’s what the old Buick cost me and a couple friends our senior year of high school. We bought the old boat with one purpose in mind, destruction. See we wanted to enter the demolition derby in Rocky Ford the following summer. Four wheels and a v8 motor were the things that we lived for. The louder the motor was, the better we liked it. We were chaos on four wheels and the dirt roads in southern El Paso County and the boot toe of Lincoln County probably still show scars from the donuts and drag races that were caused by the Super B as we affectionately called the old Le Sabre.
We bought the car from a neighbor lady who was cleaning up around the place. The Buick had already had quite a life, it was used to carry the mail out of the Rush post office. With an air bubble and the loan of my dad’s flatbed trailer, we managed to get the old girl loaded and headed for a new life. We dragged the old girl into the shop with the loader tractor, and after a fresh battery and some new gas we were ready to see if those eight cylinders would run once again. With a shot of ether and a few persuasive hits with a hammer on the starter, the engine came to life once again. This would be the beginning of a year long adventure that turned into the highlight of our senior year.
After cutting the muffler off, because loud pipes save lives, and vacuuming the equivalent of a 55-gallon drum of mouse droppings and nests from the floorboards and beneath the seats, our chariot was ready to be put to the test. With the derby over a year away, we decided that we were going to have all kinds of fun with the car before she was turned into scrap metal. Growing up in eastern Colorado, there were two things that we had an abundance of. That was time, and a love for coyote hunting. Neither of these things are a great thing for high school boys. In fact, too much free time almost got us in big trouble, but that’s a story for another time.
There was one day that we had decided to go for a coyote hunt in the old Buick. It has been a while and I don’t remember who all was with us, probably better that way, but I do remember that my older brother was home from college and was riding in the backseat along with the arsenal of rifles that we had brought along to hunt for Wiley. It was late in the evening, and we had come up short on our hunt. We had called, drove nearly every pasture, and scoured all over, but we still hadn’t seen any sign of a coyote. The sun was fading from the sky and the one headlight that worked on our old jalopy didn’t offer much light to make it back to the house.
That’s when I spotted him. A lonely jackrabbit that was just itching for a chase. I floored that old car and the unmuffled motor about deafened us in the cab. Jump for jump and dive for dive I chased that jack across the prairie. Every move that he would make, I was right there with him in that car. Tires squealed and dirt flew. I drove like I was trying to get into the Daytona 500. It was all smiles and laughs in the front seat where there were arm rests and panic handles on the door, the back seat was a different story. There were no seat belts, handles or even prayer books back there. There was however a small arsenal and an older brother that was something like a crash test dummy as I ducked and dived with that rabbit. When the jack finally found a hole and dove underground, we brought the car to a stop. Jake looked like he had stepped in the ring with Mike Tyson, and he didn’t find near the humor in the rabbit chase as I had.
To this day my brother still refuses to get in the back seat when I am driving. He might have a mild case of PTSD, or he might just not trust me anymore. We burned a lot of gas and made a lot of memories in that old Buick, and I wouldn’t trade a moment for a bucket full of gold. That’s all for this time, keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God bless.
Meinzer is a fourth-generation rancher raised on the southeastern plains of Colorado. He and his family live and ranch in Oshkosh, Neb.