I made it to the corner of Broadway and Wall Street before it hiccupped and died. I almost panicked, but then I saw two deputy sheriffs standing on the corner and I thought that they could push me out of the way if necessary. But I pumped the accelerator a couple of times, the car hiccupped and started. It died a couple of more times en route to my destination, but I hit the accelerator and made it to the service station. I bet that tank was totally dry.
When I pulled in, I didn’t get as close to the pumps as I usually did but I was happy to be in walking distance in case the hose didn’t reach. But it did! That incident got me to thinking.
My oldest brother, Chet, who we lost in 1957, was driving my car (not the same one) in the mid 1960s and, as usual, my gas gauge was on the big “E.” We ran out of gas right in the middle of South Maple Street and Lexington Avenue.
There were gas stations on two of the four corners. Then it happened, I got the giggles. My brother was easily embarrassed, and I know he would have gotten in the floorboard if he thought he would fit. But he just sat with a red face, hoping he would not see anyone he knew.
We finally both settled down enough to push the vehicle into one of the stations, filled the car and continued on our journey.
Then I recalled my Grandfather Reynolds, who with my grandmother, came to Winchester to visit us. He drove a Model T and when I went home with them, we always traveled today’s Ky. 627 and always had a flat about three miles out of Paris. I often wondered if we drove through Mount Sterling and Sharpsburg to their home in Carlisle would we still have had that flat, but we always took the same route and always had a flat. Almost in the same spot.
Then I recalled in the early 1940s before World War II, my brothers had a very old car. Our housekeeper, the late Ella Green, a jewel of a lady and just like a member of our family, named it “The Struggle Buggy” because it seemed that every time we got in it the vehicle seemed to struggle just to go. But she loved to ride in it, especially when we were going out to the farm.
The car, if you could call it that, had very little of the back floor left, and I remember her saying, “You chillen’ are trying to freeze me to death in this here Struggle Buggy.”
And then we all would have a good laugh as we snuggled further down in the blankets that covered Ella, my sister, Wanda and me as we rode in the back seat. The boys stayed warm in the front seat just trying to keep the motor running.
But you know what? That Struggle Buggy never stopped while we were in it. It really struggled a lot but it kept going to the farm and back.
What memories I have from a near-empty gas gauge.