The Hood's Changing Color


The hood's changing color!

Working on the research farm for Del Monte brought me in contact with many varied and interesting people and situations. Since the main business of the plant was canning produce, there was a group of managers whose job it was to monitor the crops. These were Field Managers and there were about 3-4 of them, each assigned to a small group of farmers. The manager of the research farm was also a Field Manager, but only assigned to the farm. 

Some of our duties outside the farm itself, involved supporting the other FMs when they needed samples to test for the readiness of the crops or the need for insecticides or irrigation. Because there was so much travel involved, each of them had a company car and the farm had a pickup as well. These were all leased vehicles from the local Ford dealer in Swedesboro. 

The FMs got a new vehicle every three years or so, but due to high wear and tear on the pickup, I think we only had two in the nine years I worked there since they wouldn't have any resale value for the dealer when the lease was up. It was probably a long term lease. I don't really know, but I remember the FMs worrying about mileage and we didn't have to. 

Anyway, at the time of this story, we had a tan Ford pickup that was about three years old and most of the time it just transported us and equipment around the farm or made runs to the office or the store for breaks and lunch. On this particular day, we had been working since 7 AM and had had a break at 10 o'clock, but for lunch several of us decided to get sandwiches in town. 

Not far from the farm was a Heritage Dairy Store, this small chain was similar to a 7-11 or Wa-Wa ( you have to be from South Jersey to get that ). These had been started by Heritage Dairy when it became obvious that home delivery of milk would soon be as prevalent as the Dodo bird. The store had snacks, drinks (non-alcoholic), and a deli and therefore was perfect for lunch. We normally would get sliced meat and cheese from the deli which would provide a variety of sliced bread and condiments and make a sandwich for us to order. 

So it was that we had completed our orders and got in the pickup. I was driving and Irv was shotgun and there were two guys in the bed of the truck. I started the engine and as I was putting it in gear noticed that the hood was changing color to an orange. I yelled to Irv, look at the hood it's changing color and he yelled "We're on fire!" I shut off the engine and opened the hood while Irv grabbed the fire extinguisher. We had it out quickly. After removing the air filter, we could see nothing wrong except a very dirty air filter.  So we cautiously started it up, extinguisher in hand, with no ill effects. 

I took the guys back to the farm and then drove to the dealer.  They were not happy claiming that it had been due for service some time ago and if we had brought it in, this wouldn't have happened. I called Jim, our manager to tell what had happened and that I needed his help at the dealer and he came and dealt with them. 

The truck was at the dealer for a day and we drove it for another couple of years with a discolored hood, until Hoss took care of that. (See "Hoss Haney and the Hood" for explanation. 

Davdan @ 2008-2018