Dragging and Pushing

In the summer of 1950 I had just graduated from high school. The local federal agency in charge of crop land management was offering jobs to young teenagers to go to farms in the area and check to see if they were staying within their planting allotments. In order to keep prices stable on certain products, allotments on planting had been given farmers.

For me to take one of these jobs an automobile was necessary. The possibility of my getting a car was very slim. My granddaddy had just purchased a new truck from K.W. McElwaney who sold International trucks at that time. He traded in a small Crosley automobile in the purchase of the truck.

I had saved around $500 and I discussed with Daddy the idea of my trying to buy this little car from Mr. McElwaney. Daddy said that if I could buy it for no more than $200, I had his permission.

I went to Mr. McElwaney and asked the price of the car. He wanted $400 which was probably a good price, but Daddy had put a cap on what I could pay. I told him that Daddy said I could not give more than $200. He thought for a minute and said I could have the car at that price. I was thrilled and drove it home.


I applied for one of the jobs and was told to start on Monday. From the very beginning I had trouble with the car’s starter ring coming off. Daddy had it welded back for me but it continued to come loose. When I went to a farm I always parked on a hill so I could push it off, if it failed to start.

In order to do the job properly I had to hire a partner to assist in the measuring (using a 100 ft. chain). They referred to this job as “dragging the chain”.

I hired my cousin Henry Crews to help me. He was a strong young man who had not finished school, but this was summer and he was free.

Sometimes there was no hill to park on so I would get Henry to push me off, which was no easy task. I remember him saying while gasping for breath, “I thought you got me to drag the chain not push this car”.

After a hot summer’s work, I went to North Georgia College that fall. I managed to save some money to help pay college expenses and best, I sold the car for what I paid for it.