Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Before his time

My dad worked as a welder for most of his adult life and commuted to Birmingham 30 miles away.
That hour commute was a fact of life for many men and women living in rural Walker
County, because unless you were a coal miner or owned your own business, you had to find work in town.
Even back then, commuting to Birmingham was an expensive proposition that ate away at meager pay checks. 
My dad tackled the problem pragmatically. He asked folks around our community if they wanted to pitch in and ride to work with him. 
Six people signed on the first week. He went in search of a car that could comfortably carry six or more adults.
He settled on a 1961 Pontiac Station Wagon that was the color of an autumn sunset and long as a hurst. 
It had two seats that faced forward and one that faced the rear.  It didn't have air conditioning but it did have spinner hubcaps that whistled. 
That was a feature on the vehicle that never made any of the brochures. 
He left out at 5:30 every morning and rounded up his riders before turning onto Highway 78 for the treck into Birmingham.
You could sit out on the porch in the evenings after he'd dropped off all his riders, and hear him whistling long before you saw the old Pontiac.
He was always a pathfinder, carpooling long before it was in vogue. 


  1. I wished that there were more people like your dad so we did not have to depend on foreign oil for gasoline.

  2. Your dad was a proper pioneer!! Take care

  3. Great visual of the car. The color of an autumn sunset - that would be an unforgettable sight. I can almost hear those whistling hubcaps too. Your dad sounds like a remarkable man. We need more like him.

  4. My Dad used to carpool to his job too. When I was young I thought he just wanted someone to talk to that early in the morning!

  5. Necessity is the mother of invention and your dad found a way to solve his and others commuters problem. He was a thinker and probably a doer as well.

    I wonder who invented the term "Car Pooling"

  6. What a beautiful ode to your father Rick.

  7. My dad always car pooled to work, too.


  8. That was a neat story about your father!


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