Bill's and John's excellent Feast adventure

The writers were married (to each other, of course) in 1966, a mere year after the unusual Feast described in this article. Last names have been withheld to protect the guilty and the innocent.

By Bill and Scarlett Stough

LONEDELL, Mo.--In 1965 traveling by jet was a popular means of transportation to a distant Feast of Tabernacles site. It was fast. It was comfortable.

Bill and his friend John had bought tickets to fly to Jekyll Island, Ga., where they were assigned to work in the business office at the Worldwide Church of God­sponsored Feast.

Feast fever was running high, and they looked forward with great anticipation to this fall festival. They were both in their early 20s and single. They were employees of the mail-processing department at Ambassador College, Pasadena, Calif.

Driving Granny

Bill's and John's supervisor called them two weeks before they were scheduled to fly out and informed them they had to leave that day and drive a truck loaded with Feast supplies. No one else was available to drive it.

Bill and John were disappointed, but they cashed in their airplane tickets, drove to their respective bachelor pads, packed and returned. Only then were they shown the truck they would have to drive 3,000 miles each way. It was a dump truck.

The only place to put their luggage was in the back of the truck with all the song books and other Feast supplies. The transportation-department supervisor, who shall remain first- and last-nameless, tied a heavy tarp over the top and nailed it thoroughly to the wooden parts on the side of the truck. They would not be able to change clothes for a week as they drove through the heat of the American Deep South.

The bachelors decided that the solution that would be sufficient for them was to buy clean underwear to change into after showering at their motel and then put back on the same outer clothes they had been wearing.

Waitresses would come up to the table and then tend to step back to take their order. Body odor, when strong enough, causes the nose of its possessor to shut down. They couldn't smell themselves or each other.

They named the truck Granny because she couldn't quite get to 40 miles an hour even when they floored the accelerator all day long. Thirty to 35 was about all the speed Granny could muster. They drove long hours so they would arrive in time.

After their arrival John, a reasonably intelligent man, rented a car, leaving Bill with Granny.

Sticker shock

There was a problem, since the supplies had to be transported every day from the storage area in the Aquarama to the big tent where services were held for about 5,000 people. How could these supplies be unloaded if the truck had to be parked in the boondocks far from the tent?

The festival elder solved the problem by placing a ministerial sticker on the bumper of the truck. The closest parking lot to the tent was the one assigned to the ministers. Bill and John had their doubts, since what parking attendant worth his salt would believe a minister would be driving a dump truck?

The first day of services Bill drove Granny to the tent. One attendant stared at the ministerial sticker in consternation for a while. He looked at Bill, then at the sticker. A look of confusion clouded his face. But then he sent him on to the ministers' parking lot.

One day Bill, dressed in suit and tie, drove a load to the tent before services. A deacon opened the truck door for him and said, "How are you, sir, and may I carry your briefcase?"

Bill politely said, "I'm fine, and I don't have a briefcase."

Driving Miss Linda

Then Bill began to unload boxes from the truck and carry them inside the tent. Children gathered round to see the vehicle parked among the beautiful lease cars. Sometimes larger groups would gather to discuss this phenomenon.

Fun as well as work found our heroes. There was a church-sponsored family dance to which Bill invited Linda, an Ambassador student of his acquaintance. Since she was staying in a campground and not a luxury hotel, he thought he was on safe ground. He knew not to take any chances, so he did not tell her what she would be riding in.

The unsuspecting coed was all dressed up for the dance. Bill escorted her to the truck. His date was a bit taken aback, but, being a good sport, laughed. It wasn't Cinderella's elegant carriage, but there surely must be mice in it somewhere.

In case you're wondering, there was no second date.

Bill and John had 3,000 more miles to drive back home, but they thought they had their system perfected. All they needed was fresh underwear and sweaty, smelly clothes to put on top of them.

The next year Bill and his new bride drove to Jekyll Island in style. The transportation assigned to them was a new 1966 canary-yellow Dodge. Truck, that is.

But that's a story for another time.

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