Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hurry Up and Giddy Up

The sky was black this morning as I rolled out of Auburn, Indiana.  The easy way was to head north on 69 then west on 80 to find South Bend.  Looking at the map, I noticed I could head north on 69 a short way then cut west across Route 20.  I decided that since I was not in a rush, the easier ride on 20 would be the ticket.

My hunch was right, 20 was an nice drive with little traffic.  After awhile I approached the town of Shipshewana.  There was a small restaurant at the junction of 20 and 5 so I pulled over for a cup of coffee. 

As I walked in, I heard the clop clop of the Amish buggy and looked up to see it blending in with the day to day traffic...

My waitress was an Amish woman. My attempts to engage her in conversation were not that successful. Usually I can get get a little dialogue going but a lot of my questions were answered with a polite , " I couldn't say yes and I couldn't say no."

I paid the bill and walked outside to find a couple of guys looking over my truck.  One of them asked if I had been at the ATHS show in Auburn, Indiana in 2005.  When I told him I was there he remembered talking to me and seeing my truck.  They had stopped because they were trying to find a local Hudson Automobile Collection.  I walked back in and asked the waitress about it, she told me the museum was a half mile way.

We all drove up the road and found the Hudson Museum easily.  I walked in to find a plain but new building that was loaded with beautiful cars. There were sixty or so beautifully restored Hudson automobiles and trucks from the teens to the end of production in the late '50's.

After a few minutes I was approached by an older man who handed me his card, his name was Eldon Hostetler. It only took me a minute to discover he was the one who had assembled the collection. 

Eldon was a very friendly man who told me he was born of Amish parents.  As a young boy he was taught to work on the farm.  He recalled that the first words he learned were, " Hurry Up and Giddy Up."

In Eldon's words, he did not "sign up' to be Amish.  He continued to do farm work then began to work on some ideas to feed and water poultry.  During his life Eldon make a large fortune with his poultry servicing equipment and eventually applied for and received 60 patents.  As his wealth grew, he began to collect cars.

As we talked, he took me behind the ropes and talked about the electric shift on the Hudsons he admired as a boy.  The first cars of his collection sported the electric shift and other Hudson oddities like the hidden radio. Eldon delighted is showing me the details of many of his cars. 

When I was ready to leave, I asked him what he was going to do for the rest of the day. Eldon said he had 5 acres of grass to mow at home so he needed to get going. Eldon is 88, and quite a character. I had a great time talking to him..

After my Hudson education I headed north again toward South Bend.  I rolled into the truck show to find a few of my old GMC Truck friends had arrived from around the country. These guys are the reason I came to the show in South Bend so it was great to see them.

Tomorrow I am off to Notre Dame for a tour of the campus. It should be fun..

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