Like so many of my posts, this one begins with “a long time ago.”
It was about 3 p.m. on a Friday. I was in my old Ford on U.S. 31 between McKenzie and Georgiana. I crossed a railroad track on the southside of Georgiana and the Ford immediately quit running. I coasted to the shoulder of the road and tried to crank it. No luck.
So I walked up the road a bit to a house to use their phone (this was pre-cell phone) and called city hall. I got Barbara Clem on the line and told her my situation and asked that she contact my buddy, mayor Lynn Harold Watson, to see if he could be of help.
About 45 minutes later, Lynn showed up. He had a mechanic with him who was all of 120 pounds and covered with oil and grease from head to toe. They immediately began to prod and poke the car in hopes of figuring out what was amiss. Finally Lynn told me that I was out of gas. I told him I wasn’t. Still he told the mechanic to go get “five gallons of gas and a six-pack.”
Oh Lord I thought, we’ll be here to midnight.
The mechanic was soon back and they poured the gas in the fuel tank and each grabbed a beer.
The car still refused to crank
From time to time one of their friends would see them and pull over to check on things. Oddly enough, the fuel pump was underneath the car. They had unhooked all the lines going to it. By this time a buddy of theirs was on his back under the car seeing what he could see.
Suddenly the mechanic said to me, “let’s look in the trunk” I told him there was nothing in it but my golf clubs. Still, he insisted.
There was a small black box hanging down from the trunk lid, about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It had a switch on it which the mechanic pushed.. Immediately the guy under the car started hollering that we were now flooding him with gas.
Turns out that the little box was a kill switch that immediately shut off the electrical system if something happened. When it was activated gas begin flowing and since the gas line to the fuel pump was undone, the guy beneath the car got a gas bath.
Soon everything was reattached and i was ready to roll. Obviously when I crossed the railroad track, something hit the kill switch. Of course, I filed away the info about what the box was for in case it happened again.
It never did.
People often ask me why I am so partial to country folks and country places. Memories like this are the reason.