The Star of Saturday Night

A Thunderbird Convertible

By Max Jenkins

On a pleasant evening in Grangeville in July 1955, I came home early from work and was helping Mom set the table when Dad pulled into the driveway. He’d been honking halfway up South B Street behind the wheel of a brand new 1955 Ford Thunderbird. From the kitchen window, Mom and I saw the vehicle coming and were already out the door when it arrived.

“Wow! What a car!” 

Dad, who owned an auto sales company, leaped out of the car excitedly. He knew I was moonstruck over Thunderbirds, as was every other guy in town my age.

After we admired the recently washed convertible for about fifteen minutes, Dad said, “Let’s eat and then buzz the gut after dinner.” Buzz the gut was slang used by us teenagers for driving up and down Main Street from Highway 95 to the top of China Hill and then around the public swimming pool—back and forth, back and forth.

Dinner was quick. It was a warm evening, one of the most delightful ones of the summer. I asked Dad if we could take the top off the Thunderbird. “Sure,” he replied.

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