Car trouble leaves cowboy trapped

By Baxter Black: PNT columnist

It happened to Brett, a country boy in college on a rodeo scholarship.

His folks sent him off to college in a well-used 3/4 ton pickup with mud and snows and a grill that looked like the gate on a Russian prison, a 16-foot stock trailer the color of camouflage, and an antique gas-stingy hatchback coupe.

The story began one early chilly morning when “Marilyn,” as he affectionately named the hatchback, wouldn’t start. When this happened back at the ranch they would push Marilyn up into the back of the stock trailer and haul her to the mechanic 18 miles away in Mountain Home.

Not having a push tractor there on campus, Brett strategically placed the opened trailer at the foot of steep grade next to the sidewalk. He set up two stout board ramps and walked back up the hill to get Marilyn.

The campus seemed deserted, Bret observed, as he pushed Marilyn over the edge, jumped in and coasted down the hill. He hit the ramp tracks and loaded the projectile on the trailer with less than six inches of clearance! “Step One!” he said, much satisfied.

It was then that Step Two reared its ugly head.

On the ranch they never needed to actually sit behind the wheel to load her, he remembered … too late. There was no way to get the door open. There was no space through the window against the solid-sided trailer.

“The hatchback!” he thought, hope in his heart.

He could see the empty street behind him through the back window. Over he climbed only to find that it would not open.

As the day warmed people began appearing. He heard children talking to a mom nearby.

“Hey, Lady,” Brett whispered, trying not to scare her. No response.

“Hey, Lady!” he said, raising his voice.

The mom looked around, grabbed her kids and hurried away from the menacing voice. For 45 minutes Brett tried to catch the attention of passers by. He whistled, banged on the trailer, and rocked Marilyn.

Finally by plastering himself against the hatchback window and flailing like a shipwrecked sailor, he caught the attention of a bicycling journalism major.

She agreed to go get help if Brett agreed to let her film his plight and do an interview first. He was cornered and acquiesced. The article was titled, “Carpooling, the Cowboy Way!”