WWII was all but wound down in the late Fall of 1945 and I was turning 6 years old. A tall, lanky Montana boy, I was helping out my Dad who was working as a "hand" on the Flying D Ranch. The Foreman asked if I could reach the pedals on the 1939 Chevy 2-Ton grain truck. Eager to help, I jumped up into the cab and demonstrated that I could reach the pedals while sitting on the seat when it was moved all the way forward. The regular driver hadn't shown up and all the other hands were working flat out.
My Grandpa was a traveling salesman representing Holter Hardware out of Helena, Montana and owned the first Dodge ever sold in Montana. From the age of 4 I used to ride with him on his state "rounds" as he visited all the outpost hardware sites in this scarcely populated state---the third largest in the contiguous 48. He was my absolute hero and one of the best rifle shots in the territory, and sold more guns for Holter Hardware than anyone else. Along the way he would proudly point out the salient features of his current new Dodge and make sure I knew what the brake, clutch, & accelerator pedals were for and would, on occasion, set me on his lap to operate the pedals and learn about the gears, instruments, etc.
Hence when the Flying D Foreman asked if I knew how to drive, I quickly pointed out the pedals by name, moved towards the center gear shift knob and proudly noted reverse, low, second and top. However, I was quick to point out that I had never operated a truck that big, but added hastily that with a little help I could probably handle it. With that, the Foreman walked over to the huge combine sitting along side this truck. He drew two huge lines on the combine indicating where the front of the truck should be and the second where the bed on this grain truck should be. He said if I could keep this truck between these two lines, the hopper of the combine would be in the center of the grain bed and the combine could fill it up.
The combine moved at about 1 1/2 -to- 3 miles an hour, so my sole focus was to keep this truck between the lines until the mound of grain in the bed was visible in the rear-view mirrors. At that point I was to honk the horn and the combiner would shut off the hopper and I would drive over and dump the grain. The Foreman was the spotter and could thus keep an eye on the entire operation. He said "You did good!"
This was my first solo driving experience, and one that made my Dad & Grandpa proud.