Time will Tell

The Stacey’s 1932 Ford

The Stacey’s 1932 Ford

Bill Stacey loved machinery. By the time he was fifteen or sixteen, he was overhauling every piece of machinery on his Dad’s place. He could operate, take apart, put back together again and maintain every single object on the farm. Perhaps that’s why when cars began to show up in the horse-and-buggy town of Woodruff, Bill simply could not rest until he had the chance to drive one of them. Before long he knew every single car in Woodruff, and he knew how to fix them all.

At about age nineteen, he began to spend time with Velma Dickson who was almost sixteen. Velma grew up in a household in which girls didn’t really drive. Her father owned a car, but she had never been allowed to learn to drive. That bothered Bill. He grew up in a house in which women not only had equal rights; they were given the utmost respect in every possible way.

Orlando Dickson owned this 1929 Ford for many years

Orlando Dickson owned this 1929 Ford for many years

So Bill decided it was up to him to teach Velma to drive. It wouldn’t be difficult because she was one of the brightest girls in town. To make it easier, he chose a straight road which didn’t have traffic: the road to the cemetery. Now that had its drawback, because lately the cemetery had gained the reputation of being the place young men took their young ladies for less than honorable purposes. In fact Ted South, whose house was at the very end of the cemetery road, frequently noted who went up and down that road…and when they went up and when they came back down. Ted, who was the uncle of the Stacey children, had lived with them at the Old Brick for several years. He was married to Christina Stacey’s sister Mildred, had teased everyone in town about that road, and he didn’t mind announcing who spent time on it.

But Bill Stacey wasn’t that kind of man. Every road in town was bumpy and winding except the cemetery road. It just was the best road to teach someone to drive. Since they didn’t intend to park, there would be no reason to question his motives.

At first the driving lesson went quite well. Velma maintained her balance even on the ice-packed road, until halfway to the end. Then something caused her to steer too far to the right, and the pickup began to slip off the road. She couldn’t steer it back and it slipped into the snowy ditch, taking out several fence posts. No problem. Bill leaned over to put his hand on the steering wheel, corrected the problem and got them back on the road. Actually he over-corrected, because the truck

The 1938 Ford pickup truck with Velma's dent under the headlight

The 1938 Ford pickup truck with Velma's dent under the headlight

began to veer off to the left uncontrollably. He did all he could, but then it went off the left side of the road, into the ditch, and sheered several more fence posts.

This time Bill couldn’t get the truck back on the road. He knew all the techniques, but none of them could extricate that truck from the snow bank into which it had impacted itself. There was nothing to do but leave it where it was and go to the nearest neighbor to be pulled out of the ditch by a team of horses or a tractor.

Velma spotted Ted South’s house as they walked along the road. “Ted South would pull you out. Let’s go there.”

Bill knew Ted South. And he knew what Ted would say. “I don’t know. Maybe there’s another neighbor we could go to.”

The Woodruff Cemetery in the distance from the upper Cemetery Road

The Woodruff Cemetery in the distance from the upper Cemetery Road

“Why? Ted is right here. He’s even your uncle. Let’s go to Ted South’s place.”

“Velma, if I go there, Ted will never let me live this down. He’ll tease me until the day I die. Everyone in town will know I took you to the cemetery road, and they’ll all think they know why.”

The lower road where Velma drove into the ditch

The lower road where Velma drove into the ditch

“Why Bill Stacey, you and I both know, and everyone in town knows, you wouldn’t take a girl to the cemetery for those purposes. If people want to say things like that, let them talk. Anyone who really knows you will know the truth.”

So they went to Ted South’s. Ted gladly pulled them out of the snow bank, and teased Bill every time he saw him for twenty years. But people in town didn’t care. They knew Bill Stacey. And they knew the truth. A person of integrity and good morals doesn’t need to advertise. People know.

You don’t have to shout your own praise, because actions speak clear as a bell.

No defense or arguments raise; just the Truth, because Time will Tell.