I’m not sure what images flash through your mind when you hear someone mention Louisiana, but it may be something like this:
And there certainly is plenty of scenery like this in our beautiful state.
Early (very!) this past Thursday morning, I was driving through an area just like that, a little place called Chackbay. And as Highway 20 gently curved toward the right, I look and see….Mater!
Before I knew it, I was through the curve and gone. But I knew what I’d seen. I’d had enough coffee. I resolved to stop by on my way back home to get the story on Mater sitting on the side of the road in Chackbay, and more importantly, to get at least one picture.
Sure enough, on the way back through, I pulled into C&R Auto Repair in Chackbay. Now, one thing I should mention – I’ve never stopped at someone’s place before and asked if I could take a picture of an old car, or barn, or anything. So I was a little nervous. Turns out that was for nothing. But in my excitement (and lack of experience collecting story details) I forgot to ask what year model the truck is.
Anyway, it turns out there’s a cute story behind what would eventually become Mater sitting by the road. C&R Auto had this old tow truck they really no longer used other than to move heavy objects around their yard and shop. But the old truck continued to decline, and eventually wound up in the spot along Highway 20.
There was a little boy who rode through the area every morning, and he eventually noticed the truck, and every time he’d pass by, he’d say “Good morning Mater”. Not just once – every day. He saw Mater in that old truck, without the distinctive Mater face.
Eventually his Mom stopped by and told the owners the story. The C&R Auto guys were touched, and decided to bring the truck to life as Mater. It’s an excellent likeness, considering the face was the only work done – no bodywork modifications. When you’re standing by this truck, you can almost hear Mater’s voice. I kept waiting for him to ask me if I wanted to go out tractor tippin’ that night.
As it turns out, this Mater’s a local celebrity. And I’m not the only person who’s stopped by to take a photo. The owners are happy their roadside Mater brings happiness to others.
In fact, enough people have stopped by that the guys are thinking about accepting donations – not for personal gain, but to collect money for a charity like the Make A Wish Foundation. And isn’t that fitting, since Mater would help anyone he could?
So I gave them $2, despite their refusal to take the money.
The $2 was a small price to pay for these photos and for a story I’ll never forget.