Ford & Garrett-52 Years Of Compatability
By: Wayne Groome
As relationships go, not too many can boast having one for 52 years. But Dr. Milton Garrett has had that long of a fling with his 1929 Ford Roadster Model A. Yes folks, most things change, but not Milt’s love affair with “Parmassus” (that’s his car’s name). We’ll get to that in a moment. Milt purchased his prize possession at age 19 from a Pueblo, Colorado friend for $100, a tidy sum at that time in history. Milt’s “new” car was artfully painted robin’s egg blue by its former owner, Harold Sell and children. The quality of the job was not enhanced by their use of brushes.
It turns out that Garrett is the 4th owner of this gem and hopes to be its owner for quite a few more years. The Ford was a regular driver until its total restoration in 1984; since then it has been a “garage queen,” amassing only 19,000 miles since its rebirth. About 3,200 of those miles were traveled in the summer of 2006, when Milt and his adult medical doctor daughter drove to Canada in it. Quite a continuous feat for an old stock gal with just one modification, a 1948 Willys overdrive installed when it was rehabbed. This little addition allows Parnassus to run at higher speeds, keeping up with most traffic.
Now, to the name. Parnassus was Milt’s parents’ 1929 Ford Model A’s handle. Parnassus has several meanings: a mythical mountain of knowledge in Greece; bookmobile (there apparently were some back then); and a unique white butterfly found only in northern Mexico. Milt fancied the name, hence his car’s moniker.
Milt’s pride and joy down through the years has won numerous awards and trophies, and has received national attention in magazines. In 1954, prior to its rehabilitation, it was noted as the parts car for the featured model A article in Hot Rod magazine. Milt’s first knowledge of the article was while reading the magazine on board the ship he was commissioned to in the South Pacific. Milt has had 32 addresses in his life and his marvelous Model A has only been driven, trucked or towed to three of them – certainly a sign of loving care for his automobile.
That’s pretty much it for the lovable Model A, now on to its owner. Is there a doctor in the house? There certainly is when Doctor of Education Milt arrives, all 5’19” of him. Although slender in body, he is obviously recognizable by his height. What compliments his height is his mischievous eyes and alluring smile, plus his intelligent steel-trap mind. It is a mind that is sharp as a tack and when connected to his mouth, spews out facts and figures like a machine gun. His experiences, education and natural wit come forth without much encouragement and his knowledge is all-encompassing. Spending time with Milt is fun and educational.
Little baby Milt and his sister were born in Missouri and moved with their parents to Pueblo when he was very young. Dad worked for the railroad and mom was a teacher. Although Milt’s sister is average height, Milt attributes his “overview of the world” to the combination of his dad’s 6’1” frame and his mother’s 5’11” height.
Milt graduated from Pueblo High School and went on to junior college, only to flunk out in quick style due to horseplay and lack of purpose. On to the U.S. Navy for a two-year tour of duty (1957-1959) aboard an LSD ship. These were rough-riding, flat-bottom, amphibious assault ships that landed equipment and troops on shore, ready for action. Deployed for three months once, Milt claims the horrendous reality of sea sickness for 90 of those days. How do you do it? Duty calls even when you are throwing up. Upon returning to Pueblo after his stint in the service, Garrett returned to junior college, graduated and went on to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. There he received two degrees (ABA and MA) in industrial education.
Great Falls, Montana beckoned with a teaching job, which lasted five years and proved to be a marvelous time for Milt and his first wife. More schooling for Milt meant relocating to Texas A & M University, where he got his Doctorate in Industrial Engineering. After completing this degree, Milt was hired by the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he was a Dean, Professor, Human Resource Director, Corporate Trainer and Executive Coach to the University management. After 27 years, he moved with his second wife to Manitou Springs, Grand Junction, San Francisco, Grand Junction and finally Estes Park, arriving here in 2001.
Living in Estes put him fairly close to DIA, with affordable flights to Russia and six other countries, where he travels under the label of International Quality Management Consultants. He established this business thirty years ago while employed by the University of New Mexico. For the past nine years he has traveled to Russia to aid in their economic recovery, working with organizations and businesses to improve their competitive edge, profits and quality of life.
Once you know Milt Garrett, you realize that he is not just in love with his Model A Ford, but with life itself. He loves people and certainly Estes Park. As he puts it “The world is a candy store.” Sweet words from a nice guy.