Going to Texas

Going to Texas

A Story by Samuel Dickens

It's 1927, and Claude heads to Texas to earn big money as a farm hand.


August, 1927

Claude was on his second long day of navigating the treacherous roads to Texas. (If one could actually call them roads.)

I'm gettin' pretty good at fixin' flats. It only took forty minutes to fix that last one.

Claude whipped the steering wheel this way and that, avoiding most of the worst potholes and ruts. Nineteen years old and skinny as a rail, the heat didn't bother him much. He could handle that, and hard work, too.

I hope cousin Hollis is right about them payin' big money for pickin' oranges.

Claude smiled, thinking about all the money he was going to make in Texas. A gallon jug of warm water sat beside him on the seat, and he took a big swig.

This water ain't as good as our well water back home in Arkansas. Guess I'll have to get used to things bein' different out here in the west. I hope the girls are friendly. I ain't had a girlfriend since Beulah left me for Carl Hicks. I can't believe she did that, neither, 'cause he's the ugliest guy in Scott County.

Thinking about Beulah made his heart ache, and a little voice inside his head told him, "Write her a letter and ask her to take you back."

"No!" shouted another voice. "From now on, we're playin' hard to get!"

Claude took another swig of water.

Yeah. Hard to get. Them gals had better just start chasin' after me for a change!

Lost in such important thought, he didn't immediately see the steam coming off the  radiator. He needed to pull over and let the engine cool off, but didn't.

Ssssssssss! Chuga-chuga...chug.

A plume of steam spewed into the air and the car rolled helplessly to a stop.

"Shoot!" he hollered. "She's done gone and boiled over!"

Not an uncommon occurrence with Model T's in hot weather, Claude knew there was nothing he could do but wait. After about ten minutes, he removed the radiator cap and poured in some water from his jug.

There, that oughta do it.

Claude adjusted the spark and throttle levers just so, then grabbed hold of the hand crank and gave it a mighty turn. The engine didn't start, so he fiddled with the spark and throttle levers again, then gave the crank another hard turn.

Pop! Chenka-chenka-spewww.

Claude moved the throttle down a quarter of an inch and spark lever up half an inch.

That might work.

Another mighty turn of the hand crank and again--disappointment.

Cotton pickin'! Start, you devil!

Sweat gushed from every pore. His face turned red. With both hands on the handle, he let out a loud grunt and threw everything he had into another turn of the crank.

Pow! Smack!

The engine backfired and his hands slipped off, causing him to somehow punch himself in the face. 

Aaeeeee! Kaiser's dirty nut-sack!

In an uncontrolled fit, Claude stomped about, kicked dirt, and slung his beloved hat (The one he only took off when getting a haircut) into the adjacent field. Exhausted and defeated, he crawled beneath the car; that being the only shade within a mile.

I hate Texas! If this damned thing ever starts, I'm goin' back to Arkansas!

Claude had lain underneath the Model T for a good while when he heard footsteps. Peeping over his right shoulder, he saw what appeared to be female feet, just inches away.

"Are you okay under there?" said the feet's owner.

Claude stuck his head out and looked up at the young woman in a dirty white dress with little blue flowers on it. "Uh, yes ma'am."

"Will your car not start?" she asked.

"No. It boiled over, and now she won't start."

"I'll help you push-start it if you'll give me a ride to Nacogdoches."

Claude crawled from under the car, stood up and took a good look at the girl. She wasn't ugly. In fact, she looked better than most of the girls back in Scott County.

"Alright." he told her. "When it starts, just run up and jump on the runnin' board."

Her eyes got bright, and she said, "Okay, let's get this thang runnin'!"

After retrieving his hat, Claude ran to the driver's door, opened it, put his right hand on the steering wheel and his left on the window frame. "Alright, let's go!" he shouted. Slowly, the Model T began to roll. When enough speed was attained, Claude jumped in and engaged high gear.

Pop-pop! Chuga-chuga-chuga.

It ran, although precariously. Claude nursed it along, trying not to let it die. Speed increased.


"C'mon, c'mon!" he pleaded.

The girl's legs flew.  

"It's tryin' to run! We've almost got it!" shouted Claude, as the car picked up more speed. Looking in the rear view mirror, he saw the girl a good fifty feet behind, her legs and arms flying wildly. Faintly, he heard her cry, "Slow down! I can't catch you!"

Grinning, he took Beulah's picture from his shirt pocket and threw it out the window.

She's chasin' me. I think I'm gonna like Texas.

© 2015 Samuel Dickens

Author's Note

Samuel Dickens
Inspired by some of Dad's tales. He made a couple of trips to Texas when he was young, and always talked about how bad the roads were and all the problems with the Model T breaking down.

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Featured Review

I took a drive to Yuma years ago when my husband had to travel there to work on a car for the company he was working for. The heat was unbearable, and he was quickly beginning to show the signs of heat stroke.

I love how you expressed Claude's frustration over the model T breaking down, which in comparison was pretty much like his relationship with Beulah.
How he threw her picture out of his pocket - and simultaneously, out of his life. The humor and satire were quite enjoyable, and left me feeling a high five for Claude. Perhaps the only thing this really needed was a cold beer!

Cheers, Sam!

Posted 1 Year Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


7 Months Ago

Im from texas and i had to peek at your story im glad i did Haha I had fun reading it in a hillbilly.. read more
Samuel Dickens

7 Months Ago

Thank you. I'm happy that you and your daughter enjoyed the story. Although I'm from Arkansas, I liv.. read more

7 Months Ago

You welcome and nice I'm sure u have great memories in texas


This was a fund story, except the part about starting the car in the hot Texas sun. I've been there and know how miserable it is to work in that Texas heat.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

1 Week Ago

Thanks. It's no fun, I tell ya.
I actually have a Model T that my dad gave me and lord have mercy, I don't know how anybody drove those things for any period of time. So cool, but so much work. I loved this, the heat, the frustration , the promise of a new and better existence. And the ending is just perfect...great job man!

Posted 1 Month Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

1 Month Ago

Thank you. Dad was not much of a car mechanic, (he was a watch and clock repairman) but he said he g.. read more
You drew me right in from the outset. You set the atmosphere and I liked where you took me. You have an easy, flowing style of writing. Makes me feel comfortable, and I loved how your story ended. lovely read. Thank you Samuel.

Posted 2 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

2 Months Ago

Thank you. I'm so very glad you enjoyed it.
Yeah, that is so what i've been doing all these years, playing hard to get. I play it so well, all the ladies forgot I was playing and forgot to chase me :)
And that is when my uncontrolled fits started :)
if Claude is getting chased so soon, I reckon I might just like Texas too.
Great story Sam. You ne,ver fail.

Posted 4 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

4 Months Ago

Thank you. If you are going, be sure to drive a Model T. (They aren't very fast)
Jook, as France...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................was

Posted 4 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

4 Months Ago

I have no idea what you said.
Drove across the U.S. a few times, hit Texas only once. Don't remember exactly where. We came over a rise and we were hit by a God awful smell!
In huge pens along-side railroad tracks, were thousand of head of cattle. Even the air conditioning in the car did little to relieve the stench. Needless to say, it did not leave us with a fond memory of Texas.

Take care - Dave

Posted 5 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

5 Months Ago

Thanks, Dave. Not everyone's Texas experience is a good one. There's good and bad anywhere you go.

5 Months Ago

Oh I'm sure you are right. I'm not saying that all of Texas is bad. I'm just relating my first exp.. read more
Ha ha ha she really was cute. a girl was really chasin' him. I love your stories they are awesome!

Posted 7 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

As a native texan born and raised I can tell you the roads are still bad and the cars aren't much better either.this is a enjoyable little story to read when you need a smile on your face.well done

Posted 8 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

8 Months Ago

Thank you. I lived in south Texas for several years.
Briliant Samuel - you really know how to bring these old stories to life. As always the story just flows along and pulls us in and we forget how good this writing is because you make it look effortless.
Well done once again,
All the best,

Posted 9 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

9 Months Ago

Thank you, Allan. I'm honoured.
a great story sam,you are a true story teller my friend

Posted 9 Months Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Samuel Dickens

9 Months Ago

Thank you. I'm happy to know you liked it.

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39 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on June 22, 2014
Last Updated on November 9, 2015


Samuel Dickens
Samuel Dickens

Alma, AR

Greetings, all. I'm a seventy year-old father of three sons who enjoys writing, art, music, motorcycles, cooking, and a few other things. From 1967 to 1988, I served in the US Navy, where I traveled t.. more..

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