The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Bee Lucke and C. L. Stuart and the case of the terrible tie rod


June 7, 2017

Sometimes history is a confluence of events that when merged together cause something really great to happen. Such it was with Bee Lucke and C. L. Stuart around 1950 when they were heading to Clear Creek in Bee’s 1939 black Chevy Coupe with a genuine Indian Teepee loaded in the back end.

The confluence of events that caused the two of them to be heading to Clear Creek in the black Chevy Coupe were twofold. First, Bee’s two brothers told him that he could no longer use the Lou Lucke Company delivery truck to go to the mountains. They said he was simply wearing it out so he needed to find his own car and quickly. Hence, Bee found Claude Dowen who owned the Milk River Motor Company and who gave Bee a very good deal on the old Chevy Coupe.

Secondly, when Bee was running the dry cleaning part of the Lou Lucke Company they would always end up with quite a few articles of clothing that no one ever came back for. We all thought it strange that could happen but it made the clothing racks filled to overflowing. So, up went a sign that all clothes not picked up would be sold once a year. That had just happened and a fellow come in and offered Bee an Indian Teepee without the poles for all the clothing for that year. Who could resist that deal? Well, Bee could not so they were heading south with the teepee in the back of the car and had just entered one of the broad valleys of Clear Creek when Bee lost control of the car. He could not turn the steering wheel so it headed for the ditch and hit the opposite end of the ditch with another bang before landing in Clear Creek. The two checked the car and saw immediately that a tie rod had broken. So there they sat when C. L. Stuart looked over at a nearby hill and remarked that there was a huge bunch of Lodgepole pine there which would be perfect for teepee poles that the teepee needed. Upon further reflection the two realized that the Coupe had landed in the middle of some of the best fishing on Clear Creek. It was Bee who said that they should cut some Lodgepole pine, set the teepee up and wait for someone to come along looking for them and they would send them to town to buy a tie rod which Bee knew he could replace once the Coupe got out of Clear Creek. So, the two cut poles, set up the teepee which C. L. said was just dandy.

Bee was already looking at his weekend larder for cabin meals and found he had a bottle of cooking oil, an old Dutch oven, flour, eggs, hamburger, potatoes, onions and several cans of tomato sauce.

The two had plenty of Old Crow and Budweiser with them as well.

Around dusk, after getting back from fishing, Bee told C. L that he was going to invent a new sandwich. While C. L. got a fire started and the Dutch oven heating over the fire, Bee turned the flour and eggs into a dough. However, instead of making biscuits or something like them, he poured the cooking oil into the Dutch oven and got it almost boiling. Then he threw large globs of dough into the hot oil and in just a few minutes it all puffed up and came out light as one of Grandpa Lucke’s pancakes. After letting the dough bits cool for a time, Bee slit one open with his knife and found the whole inside to be an empty cavity. It was then that Bee got his fantastic idea. He cooked up the hamburger with potatoes and onions, and set that aside. Then he added some onions to the tomato sauce and got that tasting pretty good too. When all that was finished, he dumped a huge amount of hamburger, onions and potatoes in the dough cavity, covered it all with tomato sauce and tasted it. It was as good as anything Bee Lucke ever cooked. The only harsh word was said by C. L. who commented that it would even be better with some cheese in it somewhere.

Little did the two know that they had not invented a new food at all but had created out of little, a combination of Indian Fry Bread and a taco.

Bee cooked that delicacy until his dying day and had he seen the taco joints around town today, he would have sworn that they stole his idea!

The two got rescued, the tie rod got fixed and the rest of the summer went well although both C. L. and Bee gained about twenty pounds, they ate so many of Bee’s new food that summer season.


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