1936 Oklahoma License Plate ~ 1 page fiction (short story)

Oklahoma 1936 License Plate #134-651      By John Bolton

I was made in late 1935 in the Oklahoma State Prison at Mc Alester. I was black with yellow letters. I was issued in Goodland County in 1936 and bolted on the rear of a gray and black 31' Ford coupe with a rumble seat. I couldn't see where we were going, but when the dust wasn't too bad, I could see where we'd been.

The Ford belonged to Gibson. He had a place in the country with hogs and cattle and he ran the Texaco station in Corley. The Ford's rumble seat was fun. Little kids rode back there and laughed and sang songs and waved at people. I saw a lot Goodland County and once made a trip to Tulsa. That was a big town. The Ford had two flat tires on that trip and Gibson was angry.

My time on the Ford went too fast. Gibson nailed me under the eaves on the cow shed. There wasn't much to see but the weather, the livestock, birds and wild animals. I hung there a long time. The sun peeled my paint and the damp put rust on me. Every year or two a newer license plate was nailed on the wall with me.

51' was the last to join us. We hung there until the cow shed caved in. A man came along with a hammer and pry bar. He saved what wood that he could and put every license plate but me into a cardboard box. He held me and looked at me and I knew he thought I was in bad shape. Then he threw me in with the others.

We went to a store with all kinds of old things. People would pick me up and look at me and then put me back in the box. Most of the other plates left with people. One day a man picked me up and scraped my rust with his thumb nail. I was still solid, just missing my paint and rusty. That man bought me and we took a long ride to a place called Nebraska.

One day that man took me to a cabin along a big river. I later heard people calling it the Missouri. I was given to a man named Patrick. I hoped he would put me on a car, but no, he put me on a shelf . I saw deer and turkey on the far side of the river and many ducks, geese, eagles and other birds. On hot summer days, there were boaters and big boats pushing barges. Patrick would look at some of the boaters with binoculars.

Pat would come in and work with tools. I saw him cut a hole in a Nebraska license plate and mount it on a stick and box thing. Pretty soon, he was making music on the stick, box and plate. If it weren't for the hole he cut, I thought that would be a good purpose for me. I liked the music.

One day Patrick took me to a bucket of soapy water and scrubbed me. He had a process to make me look good and to preserve me. He put me on a guitar, but he didn't cut a hole in me. He did drill a few small holes and mount something on me that I later heard called an Elmar. Then he made music on me and got a big grin on his face. I felt happy and useful.  Pat put a label on the stick that read 'Maddog Guitars'.

I had a new purpose and I hoped Patrick and I were going to make a lot of music. But no, I hung from a hook with lots of other guitars. One day a man with long hair came and talked with Patrick and sampled guitars. Pat called him Justin. Justin picked me up, plugged me in and played. Wow. Patrick is good, but Justin is a wizard. I was sad when he put me back down.

The next day, Patrick and Justin came back. Justin played me again and three of the others. Then he and Patrick shook hands and carried me out to a small motor home with North Carolina license plates. A pretty lady named Nikki was there too. Justin put me inside on a cushion and we drove away.

Now I live with Justin and Nikki. We travel all over in the Gypsy van camper and Justin plays music on me in front of lots of happy people. I have to say, I really like where I am in life right now.

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Comment by Uncle John on January 16, 2017 at 7:48pm

Maddog, I am relieved that you like it.  Thanks.

Thanks, Jim.  Thanks, Wes.   (sorry I missed seeing your comment before.)   Yup to both of you, fact, near fact, fiction.....

Comment by Jim Morris on January 16, 2017 at 2:19pm

That's a great story Unc. Truer than most of yours I suspect and I like it being told from the LP's perspective. 

Comment by Maddog on January 16, 2017 at 2:06pm

Great story UJ!  :-)

Comment by Uncle John on January 16, 2017 at 8:00am

I hope all goes well, Ron.

Thanks, Paul!

Comment by Paul 'PapaHogg' Smith on January 16, 2017 at 4:24am
That's a great read UJ...
Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on January 15, 2017 at 8:01pm
UJ,

Not back in Tejas just yet. About 10 more days til I see my wife and kids. Echoey house here, packers took everything except my clothes, suitcases, my Taylor, and the dogs. Working on their export certificates now. Lots still to do before I leave the Sandbox.
Comment by Uncle John on January 15, 2017 at 10:24am

Thank you, Captain!

Comment by CaptnCatfish on January 15, 2017 at 10:01am

Always good to be back on the road, great story :-)

Comment by Uncle John on January 15, 2017 at 9:04am

That is intriguing, Ron.  Will watch for it.  How are you doing back in the republic of Texas?

Thanks Wes.   That was a fun one to write. 

Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on January 14, 2017 at 8:11pm
John, I need to write you a song based on that story. I love anthropomorphism.
Lemme work something up this week, and I'll try to post a vid.

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