by: Robert Minnigh (1924-2010)
The year was 1946 World War II had just ended and I had returned to civilian life. I had $500 cash so I started to search for a used car. One of the first cars to catch my eye was a 1939 Packard four-door sedan. It was sound, no dents, good tires, and a good motor, but it had a terrible paint job. I decided I'd take the car and one way or the other take care of the paint. I went to a paint store, bought several quarts of paint (a dark green as I recall) and several paintbrushes, and with a friend set out for my father's hunting cabin in the woods. We arrived at camp in early afternoon and started sanding, masking, and painting. We finished in several hours; surprisingly, the results didn't look too bad.
The following morning I was shocked to find the car covered with pine needles that were now fixed in place by the drying paint. After an hour or two of plucking pine needles, we were satisfied that we had done our best and we headed for home.
On our way I stopped for gas. The attendant came out, lifted the hood, and leaned in to retrieve the dipstick to check the oil. When he straightened up, his left hand remained stuck to the still-tacky paint. I don't remember what was said at that point, but I remember his first words were "What the . . . !" Incidentally, that left-hand print remained on the fender and was still very evident the day I sold the car two years later after many miles of faithful service. Just before the new owner drove the car away, he said, "By the way, who painted this car?" to which I replied, "I don't know" and left it at that.