There were a number of characters that lived in El Dorado during my formative years, and they added their own flavor to the spice of life in that small South Arkansas town. Some of the ones who come to mind are Mook, a close friend and high school classmate; Flying Saucer, whose real name I never knew; Donald Dollarhide, a friend who worked at P.I. Lipsey’s, a well-known hamburger joint; Tony, the hot tamale man; Buzzy Sutherland, another friend and class mate known for his fiery temperament, but who had a spiritual change and became a well-known pastor; and Truck and Trailer, whom I never knew but heard stories of some of their exploits around town.
I never heard the first names of the Goodwin brothers, but only knew their nicknames of Truck and Trailer. They walked everywhere, because they did not own an automobile and probably never learned to drive. I don’t believe that they were ever employed for any length of time, so doubtless could not afford such a luxury as a car. They received their nicknames because wherever they were seen walking, Truck was always walking ahead of Trailer. Because of their living conditions, their personal hygiene suffered, and I was told by a local merchant that one could usually smell Truck and Trailer before you saw them. This particular merchant owned a drug store located on the square, and the store had a small soda fountain which served sandwiches and drinks for customers desiring lunch. For a period of time Truck and Trailer came daily to the soda fountain for coffee usually around 11 to 11:30 am. As they would sit at the counter, this owner noted that some of his regular lunch customers would separate themselves as far as they could from the brothers. He said it came to a point that a few of his customers said that if Truck and Trailer did not do something about their body odor, they could no longer continue coming there for lunch. In as gentle and gracious manner as possible, this owner told Truck and Trailer that they needed to bath and use some type of deodorant before coming in for coffee, because their body odor was so offensive it was keeping some from enjoying their meal. The brothers said they understood and consented to improve their personal hygiene.
The brothers did not come in for another week or so, but when they finally returned to the store, the owner said he could smell them from 10 feet away. He intercepted them before they were seated and told them in a firm but polite voice that he was unable to seat them because their odor was still too offensive to everyone at the counter. They left without argument, but were heard saying as they left, “What we thought about this place is true.They only allow big shots in here!”
Another story I heard about the brothers involved a court case in which they were seeking a judgement against an individual who had accidentally struck Trailer with his automobile, causing him to suffer a broken leg. The accident occurred in the western part of town, on a hill known locally as Goodwin Hill. The driver of the vehicle was also named Goodwin, but was not related to the two Goodwin brothers, nor was his family responsible for the naming of the hill on which the accident occurred. The plaintiff, Trailer Goodwin alleged that the driver of the car, Mr. Goodwin swerved off the road and swiped into him, thus causing the injury. The defendant, Mr. Goodwin stated that Trailer Goodwin was not paying attention and stepped out into the road, and he could not avoid striking him. The lawyers for both parties were getting the Goodwin names all confused and especially the fact that the accident occurred on Goodwin Hill. Finally, the judge asked the defendant the following question; ” Mr. Goodwin, it is alleged that you have poor eyesight and thus could not tell that your auto veered into Mr. Goodwin causing him to sustain a broken leg. Tell me Mr. Goodwin, just how far can you see?” Mr. Goodwin thought a moment, scratched his head and slowly said; ” Well Judge, I can see the moon.” The judge said, “I’ve heard enough of this case. Judgement in favor of Mr. Goodwin!” When I heard the story, told by a relative of the judge, I never got it straight which one won.