Truck Air Horn

ScottBumgarner2014

My late Dad, Tom Bumgarner, was a truck driver all of his life beginning at age 15 and ending when he retired at 65, in 1983. Dad quit school when he was 15 to go to work, and help his family, on the high plains near Springlake, Texas.

His driving career began not long after dropping out of school in the eighth grade. When I came along in late 1944, Dad was a cattle hauler working for Les Mulkey Trucking of Davis Oklahoma. He worked for Les for a few years; and, then Dad went to work for the Joe Brown Company where he hauled sand and gravel.

Later, he drove for Bob Bruce Trucking of Davis. When he first began driving for Bruce Trucking, Dad used to park his semi rig on the south side of our home on south second street, there in Davis.

Anyone who has ever been around semi’s know that all of them are equipped with an air horn that sits atop the cab. Most of those old air horns sounded like the Santa Fe Chief when it flew through during the night or the day time. The Santa Fe Chief was a fast moving passenger train that doesn’t exist any longer. It has been replaced by the B.N.S.F company. Same tracks, different train owners, and no longer stops in Davis.

When Mom and Dad would go out to eat on Friday or Saturday nights, I would go crawl up and into the cab of Dad’s Peter Bilt or Kensworth semi.

Dad would always leave the key in the ignition, back then. I would start it, and move it forward, and then back it up, just for the fun of it. Dad always knew when I had been fooling around in it. Atop the cab sat a mounted shiny, silver air horn.

In our neighborhood, the speed limit was probably about thirty miles per hour; and, we had this family that consisted of a man, his wife, and their two sons, who always just seemed to fly up down the street.

One night at dusk, I was sitting up in the cab when I saw the man and woman just flying down the street, surely several miles per hour passed the speed limit. When they got almost perpendicular with me, I pulled that air horn a time or two, and I swear till this day, that this car ran up into a neighbors yard for almost a hundred yards or so before they drove back into the street, and just kept “hookin’ it”.

To begin with, that air horn sounded like the Santa Fe Chief when they blew their horn at rail road crossings, and I don’t know what this man and woman were thinking; but, it sure didn’t slow them down.  I quickly got out of the cab, and went in the house through the back door knowing they would probably call the law on me when they figured out what happened, but no one came to arrest me. That has been over fifty years ago, but I remember it as if it happened yesterday. Of course, I won’t mention any names about them.

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