Gary S 1969 Ford Country Sedan

Gather around boys and do your duty!

My Dad was a Ford man. A proud WW2 Navy combat veteran, he spoke highly of Henry Ford's creations. As a kid, born in 1965, my two older brothers and I grew up and traveled in a series of Ford station wagons. My earliest memory was of riding in his 1959 Country Sedan, a bronze and white beauty. This was followed by a tan 1969 Country Sedan with a 390 V8. When I was 16 I learned to drive on this 20' land yacht and loved it. I took some auto shop classes to learn how to work on it. The front bench seat was coming apart at the seams and I needed to use a beaded cushion to keep from getting jabbed in the butt with metal springs. The headliner was being held in place by silver duct tape. Not exactly a "green" vehicle, Dad didnt bother rebuilding the engine, which had over 300,000 miles on it, but simply dumped in a quart or two of oil a month and called it good. Dad had the front seat covered in a fake sheepskin seat cover. That lasted about two nights until a thief broke into the car and stole the seat cover. My father was offended that they didn't take the vehicle or anything else that was in it. Eventually he bought a very used 1971 Mercury Marquis Colony Park wagon with the fake wood sides and a plush naugahyde interior.

One winter when I was about ten years old in 1975 we took our yearly road trip from Torrance, CA to Desert Hot Springs, close to Palm Springs. Mom started saying a prayer when we approached the 'badlands' between Riverside and Palm Springs. Without fail our station wagons always had some problem in that area. This year was no exception. As we reached the summit of the pass, the radiator overheated and steam started pouring out from underneath the hood. We had brought some water and coolant with us, but it wasnt enough to completely fill the overheated radiator.

Dad called out to my older brothers Nathan and Mark and to me as well to gather around. He held out the empty coolant bottle and said "Boys, do your duty" We each pissed into the container, including my father and the special 'yellow coolant' was poured into the radiator. That seemed to do the trick and we managed to get to our destination without further incident. Eventually Dad swapped the stock radiator for a "Desert Cooler" model with extra rows so we didnt have to do that again. My Dad passed away in 2005 and I am now 49. Dad's wagons rusted out years ago and I wept when they were sold. I have great memories of those road trips. I just bought a 1973 Country Squire (see attached photo) which looks rough but runs great. I am hoping to create some good memories with our two eight year olds in it and tell them a bit about my father and his wagons.

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