Twenty-Three Mile Jumper Cables
My brother and I both had a passion for cars and trucks, though I was never any good at fixing them like my brother could, and would avoid working on them whenever it was at all possible. Generally what I would do would be to invite my brother over, ostensibly for a barbecue or other beer fest, and attempt to work on my vehicle in front of him.
Generally he would become so frustrated in very short order, that he would shove me out of the way so he could “show me how to do it properly”. Thus it was, that my car was never weighted down with numerous toolboxes the way his cars generally were, though there were times and occasions when it may have not been a bad idea.
Likewise, my brother had always had the ability to talk to people in a manner I could not, and to be able to get away with things I could not. I learned early on … even back home, that I was not the one you wanted out front to speak for you, no matter how good your defense may have been.
I will give one shining example of this seemingly trivial, but very real and meaningful difference between the ability of my brother and I to communicate with members of authority.
Cop: “Did you know that you were going almost ten miles an hour over the speed limit?”
Me: “No sir.”
Cop: Breaks the windows, drags me out of the car, slams me up against the car, nearly fractures an arm and a wrist … me, calling family who tells me I just have to wait it out until I can see the JP or Justice of the Peace.
My Brother enjoys a moment of Social Interaction with a Law Enforcement Agent after a more “minor” infraction:
Cop: “Were you aware that you were doing ninety-three in a forty-five mile an hour zone?”
Brother: “Yes sir. We just changed the heads and there is a lot of loose carbon build-up in the engine block and we are just trying to blow some of the carbon out.”
Cop: “That looks like a twelve pack of beer!?”
Brother: “No sir. It’s a full case.”
Cop: “Okay. I still need to write you up for speeding, but I am not going to write you up for reckless driving or DUI, but you be careful out there … and no more speeding around here okay?”
Brother: “Yes sir officer. Thank you sir.”
People, by nature, have always taken a shine to my brother, be it the girlfriends of my friends, my friends themselves, local cops, older people … people just always got along great with him. Me on the other hand, I have always been somewhat lacking socially.
My idea of advantageous social intercourse would likely include hearing someone say “Thank you sir, here is your change and receipt.” Suffice it to say, I did not get out and socialize very much. However, I did try to help my brother … wherever I could, and that was inclusive of public interaction when it was necessary and/or beneficial.
Thus it was that I had come to discover the Drive In Bar over in Riverside in Jacksonville. This was not a drive thru bar where you could make your order from your car as you drive through a driveway, but a bar with a full, two bay garage inside … and some place my brother and I would spend a lot of time during our stay in Jacksonville.
We had met the owner quite literally by accident, but it had been a very beneficial accident for my brother and I. At the time, my brother was driving a tow truck, and as such, he had what few tools I did occasionally need, in addition to both of my tow chains in use elsewhere when at last I did need them.
He had been called to the scene of an accident and had discovered a beautiful old Lincoln, in the middle of a restoration … including the big 460 engine that they had put in the car … and he had been discussing the restoration with the owner of the car … and had ended up towing it to … the Drive In Bar.
Thus it was that we had become acquainted and thus it was that my brother became the unofficial mechanic at the Drive In Bar. It would be almost fair to say that we practically lived there … at least whenever the place was opened.
People were always bringing their cars by for my brother to fix or tune up or otherwise enhance, and in return they would pay us in beer, food and cash … and me being me, I would assist my brother as best as I could.
I love fishing. I have always loved fishing, but funny, never really cared for eating fish … but I always loved fishing. At that particular time, there was still some incredible fishing to be done out along Heckscher Drive.
Heading out to enjoy one of these fishing ventures rather early in the morning … about four or a little earlier perhaps, it may be that I was driving a little fast. The speedometer on the old boat, a nineteen seventy-four Caprice Classic only went up to about one hundred and twenty, but I had it pegged, maybe to about one twenty-five.
What can I say?
I was anxious to get to my favorite fishing hole before the tides changed against me. And then the exhaust blew out and I found myself being propelled down the road on my front tires, ass-end of the car maybe six feet up in the air, with nothing but the front wheels and the front bumper touching the ground … it was … momentarily intense to be sure. I did not seem to be in danger of flipping over forwards which had been my immediate concern, though I certainly was not even going to consider touching the brakes. Had they grabbed, they would have immediately sent me into a series of over the front cartwheels that I would been doubtful to walk away from.
With only the front wheels on the ground, I also had no control over the acceleration so I could not power out of it to drop the back end back down to the ground. I could still steer well enough to keep the car on the road and there were not any major curves coming up, so I just did the best I could at steering the car and keeping it centered in the road, being glad that I had not been driving in such a manner with other vehicles around.
When at last it did come back down on all fours, after who knows how long rolling along only on the front tires, the car would not run at all. Thus, I ended up calling my brother.
When my brother finally arrived out on Heckscher Drive, the first thing he did was ask me for the keys. I explained to him that she was just not going to run no matter how much he thought it may. He replied with a snort and a snarky retort that I will have the common decency not to repeat verbatim herein. He then further explained that he did not want to try to start it and he already knew what was wrong.
What he was going to do was get my towing chain out of the trunk because he had his at the Drive In Bar … using it to support my tow chain which he had at the Drive In Bar … and you could almost see the lightbulb go off in his head out there in the cool, dark morning alongside of Heckscher Drive.
My tow chain was not in my car because he had been using it.
Thus it was that we came to look for any means to get the car back to the bar where we could wake up the owner, and get some coffee and grub before we went to work on my car.
After a whole bunch of digging and rooting around, looking even at the quilts and all of the other options, ultimately we ended up selecting the high-quality jumper cables I had purchased up in Virginia … and that he had scorned me for spending so much money on … though in my defense, I had purchased them for a 24 volt truck system, and not merely for a twelve volt car battery.
Seeing no other viable alternatives, we finally did settle on the jumper cables, though we never expected we would be able to get all the way back into town. Since we were both off work for the next couple of days, and he was not scheduled to have the tow truck and be on call until the next week, we decided that we would consider this a mission accomplished if we could merely get my car back close to town and perhaps even to Wally World or some other similar location where we could buy a chain.
I had ended up twenty-three point two miles out from the Drive In Bar.
How do I know that?
Because as the Jumper Cables finally snapped after we pulled in to the parking lot of the bar, and that was what my brother had clocked the journey at. He claims it was my fault still to this day, but I happen to know for a fact that he braked as he went over the driveway entrance instead of allowing me to slow his vehicle down for the ensuing bump.
The breaking of those jumper cables, I will swear until my dying day, was his fault and not mine … but regardless, towing a massive vehicle for more than twenty-three miles on nothing but jumper cables had been quite an accomplishment.
I am convinced to this day that we both earned our coffee, bacon and biscuits that morning … even if I would have to wait until the next weekend to go fishing.
Let us know what you think please!