The christmas tree story

This is not really about christmas, or trees. It is about doing stupid things to get the tires really smoking and other idiocies leading to lessons in one’s teen years.

So, to set the story, my father owned auto repair shops. Sometimes they were connected to gas stations, sometimes they were not, it depended on the ebb and flow of the business success. At the time of this story his shop was at a quiet intersection in the country, most of his business being farmers and construction companies.

And he had a tow truck, well-past its best-by date, but one of the reliable local services. We would get those middle-of-the-night calls from police or insurance companies, or from the locals who more normally called to schedule an oil change or maintenance call.

Once, not long before Christmas, he got a call from an extremely agitated young man whose family he knew well. He had got into some trouble with his dad’s new pickup, and could my dad come tow it to the shop?

When he arrived it was to see a shiny new red truck in the middle of a street with what is best described as a lot of burnt rubber marks around it. And the drive shaft was standing at an angle up through the bed of the truck. And the very stressed young man waiting nervously for him.

Dad quietly set about attaching the truck to the tow, letting him talk about how it had happened. His parents were out of town. He was just having some fun with the truck. And he figured out that if you put it reverse and got it rolling, then slammed it into first gear the tires could break free a bit easier.

He also jabbered on about how it was such a new truck, a few days old, which his dad had bought as a sort of present for the farm. And how it was really needed as a tool, to get feed and parts, to deliver the same where they were required, and all the hundreds of tasks a truck served on a family farm at the time. He kept talking pretty much all the way to the shop, where my dad parked it and detached it from the tow.

Then the young man asked, “what can you do about it?”

My dad looked up at the top of  the snapped drive shaft, about the height of the top of the cab. “Well, I suppose I could put a light on it.”