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Car Lot Blues
My first car was a beautiful black 1947 Mercury with those big, wide whitewall tires. Actually there was more rubber on those whitewalls than on the actual tread. But that didn't bother me. My buddy and I decided to go out for a cruise one night, in the Merc so we pooled our resources and came up with about 57 cents. About enough for two gallons of gas. This was those fabulous fifties when you could buy gas for 25 cents a gallon. The thing they never seem to mention was that the salaries matched the price of gas. After you bought that much needed pair of Fuzzy Dice to hang on the mirror and a little gas there was hardly enough left from your eleven dollar weekly salary for a decent date. I'm getting away from my story though.
So my buddy and I decided that we would cruise the big Merc into town and check out the nifty 55 Chev in the one and only Independent Car Lot. We figured it had that new 265 V-8 in it that was causing us Ford Guys so much grief. So we pulled into the lot under the lights just in a certain way so the good side of the Merc was in the best light, shiny black with those freshly scrubbed wide whitewall tires. We were talking a line with the salesman who obviously was not too busy explaining to him how much the Merc was worth and what the deal should cost on the Chev. So during a short lull in this discussion there was a noise behind me that I can only try to describe. It was like a Ka-Boom! After we all sought personal protection we saw my beautiful Merc with the two gallons of gas sitting on the rim of the front tire. The tire had not only blown out but blew out while the Merc was sitting still on the Car Lot. My buddy and I embarrassingly looked at each other and then towards the laughter. The salesman was in a fit of laughter. While he was walking towards his office he would stop, look back at us and break into uncontrollable laughter. Fate got even with us that night.
The Smoke Screen
When I was in High School during the late 80's I had a 1979 Ford Fairmont station-wagon. It was that Ford brown-orange color - I can only guess Ford thought it would appeal to consumers that wanted a paint job that blended in with rust-spots. It wasn't much to look at - in fact there were only three cars at the High School that were uglier; A Chevy step-side a buddy of mine owned that was painted four very distinct colors of primer An Oldsmobile that the guy tried to repaint with a Wagner Power Sprayer and a car (origins unknown) that we affectionately called the bat-mobile.
Every Friday night after the Football game a large group of students drove to the Pizza Hut to hang out. When driving home after one of these nights I pulled my station-wagon up next to a friend of mine in a VW rabbit. He looked over at me and revved his engine a little and acted like he wanted to race. I had a number of people in the station wagon and they egged me on. I started to rev up up the station wagon (which regardless of its looks - sounded really good because of an exhaust system leak - you know the kind I'm talking about) He revved again so I tried it one more time, but instead of a emitting that great v8 vroom sound it filled the entire intersection with smoke, the car died and my friend zipped away in his rabbit. The guys that were in the station wagon with me got out and pushed me around the corner into a parking lot - laughing hysterically all the way. As I entered the parking lot which was on a pronounced hill, I found out how exciting power brakes and power steering can be without power. I dodged a couple of cars as I looped around the Kentucky Fried Chicken and came to a stop half way between the Shoney's and Krogers.
The station-wagon was never the same. Every time I started it up it would fill the surrounding area with a similar smoke screen. It was so bad my sixth period teacher would let me leave her class early so I could start the station wagon before there was anyone in the parking-lot.
(Eric, Cordova TN)
"Just One More Crank Claude"
Way back in the old days there was a couple by the name of Claude and Doris that lived way out in the country. Well one very cold day in the winter Doris wanted to go to town to get a perm and do some shopping. She told Claude at breakfast to get out and warm up the Model T. Doris was a large and forceful woman if you get my drift. Claude was just the opposite, a slight man not overly strong. Claude was outside for quite some time trying to get the Tin Lizzy going by cranking the engine by hand. As I said Claude was somewhat slight in stature so all he was good for was a quarter turn on the engine crank. All the while he was out there Doris kept yelling out the back door yelling advise do this, don't do that. Well Claude was getting tired by now. He had cranked the car by hand till he just fell face down in the drive. He had also drained all the antifreeze from the radiator , heated it on the stove, poured it back into the radiator hoping to get at least a pop out of the engine. All the time Doris is in the house, leaning out the door periodically to shout some pearls of great wisdom. Claude is totally exhausted by now and has accomplished nothing. Now BIG ran in Doris' family. Her nephew Junior happened to walk by and asked Claude if he needed help. Now Junior is about 6ft 4 and 280 pounds. He logged for a living. Locals told of Junior walking along with a railroad tie on his shoulder and stopping to talk to another fellow for a while never putting down the tie. So Junior grabbed the crank on Claudes Ford and twisted it like someone would ring a chicken's neck. Immediately the Model T started running , just idling as pretty as you'd want. Of course Doris was leaning out the back door and called to Claude. "Claude, like I told you all you lacked was one more turn"!!!
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