One of ND's regular columnists shares an anecdote. 

I had a 1947 Jeep at a young age. I pretty much ran free, except my dad always had to know where I was supposed to be any time of day, and at night, I had to be home.

Dad kept me pretty busy, delivering things to the crews in the field, dragging (grading) the oil-lease roads, and running errands with my Jeep.

If the fences didn’t have cattle guards, they had barbed wire gates. Usually one person would open the gate, and the driver would drive through the gate, then the other person would close the gate. However, if the driver was alone, the driver would have to get out of the vehicle, open the gate, get back in the vehicle, drive through the gate, then get out of the vehicle, close the gate, get back in the vehicle and go on his way.

I wasn’t lazy, just innovative. I would drive up to within about 30 feet of the gate, put my Jeep in low range, low gear, then jump out of the Jeep, open the gate, let the Jeep idle through, then close the gate, go catch the Jeep, and go on my way. Simple, huh?

Once, though, I went through my routine – I put the Jeep in low range, low gear, jumped out of the Jeep, ran up to the gate to open it – but uh-oh, the gate was locked! It was too late to stop the Jeep. It ran through the closed gate, dragging both gate posts and a lot of barbed wire and fence posts with it. Then I had to find Dad, and after explaining what happened, we had to round up the roustabout crew, and spend the rest of the day replacing the broken posts, fence and gate. Needless to say, I looked at a gate really close in the future to be sure it was not locked.

We lived on a dirt road that became rutted in the winter and very bad to drive. The school bus typically would come down my road to pick up myself and my best friend Tommy. However, if the road looked really bad, the bus would bypass our road. If the bus didn’t come by your home, you weren’t counted absent from school.

Sometimes the evening before, Tommy and I would get in my Jeep and drive down our road, traversing from the road to the ditch and then across the road to the ditch on the other side – back and forth until our road looked bad. The next morning, the bus driver would see the road and decide it was too bad to drive and bypass us. Hence, we weren’t counted absent from school, and therefore, had the day to play. When the roads dried up, dad put Tommy and myself to work dragging the road – more fun.

Sometimes I drove the Jeep to school, however, I was not allowed to drive it again until it was time to drive it home; this was the principal, Mr. Shade’s, rule. On days that the state highway patrol was to be in town, giving driving examinations, Mr. Shades would let me out of school to drive my Jeep home. Now he was a principal to be respected.

I did a lot of things with that Jeep when I was 13 years old to 16 years old that almost are unimaginable today.