A VOICE IN THE DARK
Dorothy Jacobs Buchanan
|Courtesy of Flicker with Creative Commons|
Professional Division, Honorable Mention Anecdote
In 1917, the year our country entered World War I, people were beginning to buy automobiles to
replace the former horse-drawn vehicles. My Grandfather Larsen purchased a Chandler car that spring. It was
long and narrow and contained two fold-out seats, thus giving the Chandler the distinction of being known as
a seven passenger car. This thrilled the children.
Grandpa had driven horses all his life, and didn't take time to familiarize himself with the mechanism of
the car, as was demonstrated several times that summer.
One dark, rainy night in July, four of us family members were returning home to Mt. Pleasant in the
Chandler, after a trip to Salt Lake. The hour was late and we were making slow progress over the muddy
As we entered Fountain Green, the engine started to knock—a frightening cacophony of sounds. We
struggled on until the car came to a dead halt directly in front of the (silent) picture show theater. We sat in
desolate silence for a few moments, listening to the drumming of the rain. Grandpa suddenly opened the door
and strode into the theater. He returned in a short time accompanied by a number of men and boys who
proceeded to look under the hood and go into expert action. Grandpa had found the right men!
As we were riding toward home again, I asked Grandpa how he managed to recruit helpers so quickly
in a darkened theater. He answered promptly: "I just stood at the back and called loud as I could, 'Say, you
young fellers that I know are sitting in this place, my car is stalled out in front and I'd sure be glad for some
help.' And I got it."
MODEL T CIRCA 1917
Dorothy Jacobs Buchanan
Professional Division, First Place Poetry
Where has it gone, now that you reach back
Through decades into the far evanescence
To find it?
I can see silhouetted shadows
Cast in the sharp sun,
As we jolted through the dust—
Tall, thin, angular shadows.
We watched them expand and contract,
And could see our heads bobbing about.
We were driving to the Big City
In our new Model T for the first time.45
It all rushes back:
Now we are climbing the steep, narrow road
That leads to Payson. Can we make the top?
"Press the low pedal, no—harder, HARDER—PUSH!
Everyone lean forward. NOW! "
The engine coughs, mutters, whispers—and dies.
A seagull flapped its wings close by.
Father became articulate: "Lou, you are the smallest.
Get behind the wheel and steer. The rest of us climb out and push.
All together now, HEAVE!"
The engine sulks but jerkily comes awake.
(The spark plugs are obviously dirty again.)
Mother even assisted.
But in the final tremendous effort
Her new picture hat blew off—
Black silk with gold grape clusters.
It floated lazily over the edge of the dug way
And came to rest on a rock pile 30 feet below.
We started merrily down the hill, but the hiss of escaping air From the front tire proclaimed "a flat. "
Father with his always present vulcanizer, Put a round rubber patch over the hole in the inner tube,
Our job was to aureate the tube with our bicycle pump And replace it inside the 30 3 tire. Everything was
Father advanced the gas and the spark. Bobby cranked vigorously Until the vibration began. We were again
All sunshine and glory it was;
The sense of movement, The Day—
The family riling together
In the black, shiny Model T
Gould the air ever be more kaleidoscopic—
Or the world more alive?