A noisy memory returns
“What the **** was that?” I shouted to myself as a black Ford pickup shot by on a nearly deserted stretch of blacktopped highway. The roar from the huge twin exhaust pipes protruding from its backend had suddenly brought me back to the land of the living.
As I watched the truck rapidly disappear in the late afternoon sun, I muttered to myself “darn kids drive like maniacs.”
Back in the safety of my home as I stretch out on my faithful recliner, I can still visualize those chrome exhaust pipes blaring at me. Then, slowly, that vision transports me back in time to a young man with a black 1958 Chevy convertible.
It was the winter of 1959-60 and that Chevy was my only dependent. Every time I had a little extra money it would devour it.
Although the 348-cubic-inch V8 motor had twin exhaust and “Hollywood” mufflers, I was not content with the sound it emitted ... not noisy enough I told myself. A friend of mine convinced me that a set of “lake pipes” would remedy that situation.
Lake pipes (lakers, as they were referred to by the cool kids) were chrome pipes that ran along both sides of the car just below the doors. Although they added nicely to the car’s appearance, their main purpose was to allow the car’s exhaust to pass through them completely bypassing the mufflers. Of course, that was not legal in towns so chrome caps were bolted to the ends of the lakers. The caps were only to be removed in unrestricted areas.
Not long after I had installed lakers on my Chevy, trouble began. The lakers found themselves open more often than closed.
One day as I pulled into the driveway of our home I was followed by a patrolman. He promptly issued me a ticket for “no mufflers.” Although my lakers were capped at the time he said he had received so many complaints that he was writing the ticket anyway.
The patrolman told me to appear in front of Alma Severeid the Justice of the Peace. He also informed me that the fine would probably be $5 plus costs.
Somehow, my father soon heard about the ticket and sort of chuckled. “She’s an old friend,” he said, “I’ll go with you and she’ll probably dismiss the charges.”
That next Saturday Dad and I appeared at the Severeid Drug Store in Huxley where Alma held court.
Dad and Alma talked and talked. They chuckled over days gone by and the many times their paths had crossed. Then, abruptly, Alma looked my way and said, “That will be $9 – $5 fine and $4 in costs.”
As we exited Severeid Drug Store, Dad shook his head and quietly said, “Well, that didn’t work out too well.”
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.