CHAPTER SIX Life Experienced  Go To Main Table  Go To More Book Chapters

What Happened?

                By George J. Kimble

 

Me and the boy looking for that car

We had searched near and far

Everything we saw, he said, just was not up to par

It may be easier to reach out and touch a star?

 

Then we came upon that special one

He cried, “Pop this is going to be so much fun”

It was a Rust Bucket and wouldn’t even run

There were holes in it, shot by a gun

 

That old coupe was anything but a find

To his eye it was a gem in his youthful mind

He saw magic in that paint that wouldn’t shine

It looked like it soaked too long in a vat of brine

 

Youthful will stirs, youthful desires

Broken glass, shattered headlights, deflated tires

Sunk into the yard, totally mired

A love struck teenager, embraced by the one he admires

 

Talk all you want and the faults are never heard

Flap your lips and he never hears a word

Point out blemishes and he whistles like a bird

Your views, after the car, and friend’s opinions, are third

 

Then another tactic is tried,

Mom will be so mad, she will cry!

She will hang me out to dry!

Don’t make me be the one to die!

 

You realize it to be natural truth

Big dreams are a fact of youth

Not even an inch will he move

He imagines himself in some kind of groove

 

He is struck

You are stuck

Go get the trailer and the truck

Hope you negotiate with better luck

 

Maybe you will lose

That may be a good excuse

To leave that heap in the junk yard ooze

Blame the owner for being so obtuse

 

The crusty, bearded, cigar chomping man didn’t look too nice

However, He throws out a ridiculously low price

You cut it with a big sweeping slice

He accepts and you fall over, as if on Ice

 

Load that “beauty” onto the trailer you tell the boy

You mumble something about kids and toys

And the kinds of people Junk Yards employee

More over, you see your son jump for joy

 

On the trip you scold him. “You drag it home”

“You strip it to the bone”

“You do this on your own”

“You leave my tools alone”

 

The neighbors look in disgust at the beast

Their concerns are your least

That woman inside the house has to be appeased

You know she is not going to be easily pleased

 

Unloading you start a new lecture

Our subdivision is not a farmyard or a pasture

Do you realize this isn’t a pretty picture?

This thing cannot become a backyard fixture

 

You look into his eyes and are amazed

His face is beaming and those eyes are glazed

The steering wheel is fixed in his immature gaze

By your discourse he has not been fazed

 

Wonders do sometimes thrust upon our lives

Sometimes they are stuck into our souls like knives

Suddenly, I relive the moment, when I learned to drive

I remembered how I had to beg and connive

 

Now, I too am magically blissed

Like the first time I was kissed

A feeling obscured by age, dearly missed

To my carefree youth I have been whisked

 

Kids and old cars are strange concoctions

Mixed in just the right proportions

They cross time and life’s commotions

Evoking the most enjoyable emotions

 

As a man and a Dad

I will always become glad

Whenever I recall this time we had

And try to remember, that old car, wasn’t all that bad!


Quest for the Bubble

                        By George J. Kimble

If you ever had to find a part

You are aware the quest is less science than art

I needed a gas gauge float

For my 1948 Chevy land boat

                    

I had removed the tank

Cleaned it all out because it stank

Inside is a copper bubble hung on a wire loop and lever

It rides on the surface of the fuel and sends a signal, very clever

 

I pulled the gauge from the top

And found out that the bubble was a flop

I had a torch and some soldier lead

So then I got a notion into my head

 

Well, resourceful as I am at doing repairs

I figured I soldier it, and ease my cares

It seemed like an easy task

Just before the gas inside it flashed

 

That’s when I singed my hair

My forehead was blackened and the top was bare

I can tell you now, and I am being serious

That fumes of gas and a flame is very dangerous

 

Now the quest was on for the bubble

I called every parts house and had the same trouble

They all listened and made the same statements

Then laughed real loud without abatement

 

None had ever seen one like that

After all they were mostly just young brats

Good help is hard to find these days

So I was on my way

 

I started out to check some junkyards

This search wouldn’t be too hard

There must be hundreds of cars that used these bubbles

But every one we found had the same darn trouble

 

Where the wire clasped the ball

Bi-metal corrosion ate through the wall

Car after car and tank after tank

They looked just fine but they all sank

 

I traveled further and further a field in this quest

But every junkyard was just like all the rest

They looked good in my hand but would sink like a rock

I now had twenty of them in stock


                               
My boy and I, from a salvage place, were returning

Along a lonesome byway we spied some thing burning

At closer view, it was the setting sun reflected

From the shattered glass of a car long neglected

 

Behind brush of cedar it was concealed

It was an Old Chevy mired above its wheels

Like mad men we leaped from our truck

And run ankle deep through weeds and muck

 

The hulk was covered with rust

Mother nature was turning it back to dust

We tried to jack it up for at least an hour

But it was sunk to deep and the sky started to shower

 

In desperation I slammed my hand against the trunk

It popped open with a clunk

My son in an unusual manner

Grabbed a big claw hammer

 

He whacked hard and pierced the trunk floor

I encouraged him to do it a whole lot more

Finally he broke through to the rotting and pitted gas tank

Then slowly removed the top, float ball, and shank

 

It looked good as they all do

What was left to prove

Hurried home and set it in a pail of water over night

It was still floating in the morning to our delight

 

That  float from the car bound for hell

Has served for more than 15 years in my gas tank’s well

Nothing else on that wretched beast could have been used

Every part had been shot or abused

 

The quest for the bubble was over and success was ours

Since then we have restored several other cars

But that gem will never be forgotten

Found in the car where everything else was rotten


A Feeling Like This

                By George J. Kimble

 

How does it feel?

To be stuck on the road

Like a road killed toad

With no plan to move the load

 

How does it feel?

To see cars pass you by

Without a reason why

Trying not to cry

 

How does it feel?

To face those expressions never changing

To hear those rods clanging

To watch smoke spew from an engine that’s banging

 

Oh ! You were the confident one

You drove an antique for the fun

You controlled that magical force

You guided it down that winding course

 

How does it feel?

The anxiety that you must transcend

To make excuses and amends

To beg from your friends

 

How does it feel?

To impose your needs

To beg others to do deeds

To revive that smoldering steed

 

How does it feel?

To drag it onto a flat bed

Hooked, engine’s song dead

Uncontrolled overwhelming dread

 

Oh! You knew it was the treasure

To make driving a pleasure

To cruise away in leisure

You took every measure

 

How does it feel?

To be on your own

To be all alone

With no way home

Like a motionless stone

Tell me, How, does it feel?

 

Poof

                By George J. Kimble

 

It's five o'clock in the morning

It came out of the predawn darkness without warning

As I walked across the driveway all seemed natural

My wife had packed my lunch in the little brown satchel

 

As I opened my big Chevy's door

I made a mental note to come home early to wash my 454

That black muscle truck looked a little dirty

By now, it was pushing five thirty

 

When I arrived at work it was just another day

I started my routine that earns me my pay

The hustle and bustle of assigning my crews

Was interrupted by a phone call out of the blue

 

My wife was agitated on the other end of the line

I had to ask her to calm down several times

She was shouting about, Where is the truck?

The answer, I didn't have, left me dumb struck

 

I said sarcastically, "It's in the driveway, like it always is!"

She said emphatically, "No it is not, What kind of joke is this?"

I said, "It was there at five thirty!"

"I even noticed it was a little dirty!"

 

An ill sinking feeling in my cranium throbbed

The rush of realization my 454 SS truck had been robbed

Random thoughts started ricocheting around in my brain

Images of the truck flooded over with anguish and pain

 

Nightmares of dismemberment in some chop shop

I pleaded with her, "Have you called a cop?"

She shrieked, No she hadn't, yet

She had to get to work; she was taking my Vette.

 

So, Now I had to handle this thing

I dialed the police; Ring, ring, ring

I told the person on the phone

The 454 was stolen from my home

 

I hurried home to meet the police and had to wait

An agonizing long time considering my trucks fate

Finally, about ten, appears a police cruiser

Confidently, out steps a stern looking police officer

 

His questions; at first, made me feel like a suspect

By now, pacing and fidgeting, I was a nervous wreck

I described my 454 in detail; a little form he began to fill

He realized, this 454 truck wasn't just another run of the mill


 

I started begging him, "Please find my pick-up truck!"

"Recovery", he explained, "is a matter of luck!"

I needed some assurance from him to help me cope

But, He flatly told me, "There isn't much hope!"

 

He said, "I'll start an investigation"

He got in his cruiser and left without hesitation

I felt abandoned and left out to dry

I called my wife and she began to cry

 

The harsh reality we could not escape

We felt violated, sort of raped

Invaded, and pillaged, victimized

Frustrated, and angry, traumatized

 

In a stupor, I returned to work

I found my self cursing the thieving jerk

I called the insurance to stake my claim

Man, I wished I had someone to blame

 

Then, I guess you could call it a twist of luck

The police called and said, they had found my truck

It was found with no tires or wheels

The interior was torn up, no big deal

 

After some bureaucratic hassles and towing arrangements

The 454 SS was taken to a trusted repair agent

He pointed out the damage was much more extensive

And that the repairs would be much more expensive

 

Hauling it, wheeless, onto a roll-back

Knocked the front-end way out of whack

There were scratches and dents all over the place

The low life thieves escaped without a trace

 

Now, several weeks have come and gone

The repairs are moving right along

From this event we will recover and survive

We pray no more thieves invade our lives

 

Though, we are still feeling rather hollow

And this pill was hard to swallow

Life is strange and has many lessons to be learned

So, Don't covet material things, because POOF, they could be burned

 


Lifted

                By George J. Kimble

 

I went out to Clarksville, the last show of the year

The weather was threatening, cool and rain was feared

The show was great and the trophies were grand

They even had good food at the concession stand

 

I left out of there smiling and happy

But the skies started looking, dark and crappy

I headed south and started down off the ridge

It started raining as I crossed Bordeaux Bridge

 

Now, my old Buick is a great riding car

But, when it starts raining I can't see very far

The wipers are vacuum powered, as you know

When I accelerate they just don't go

 

I slogged through puddles and ponding on I-65

Dodging the big trucks and trying to survive

When there in front of me all at once

The traffic was stopped in a big bunch

 

Well it didn't really stop, but inched along

I entertained myself singing oldies songs

We kept this up for more than an hour

My defogger was over whelmed by the intensity of the shower

 

Slogging along I was surveying the old Buick's dash

My eyes focused on the fuel gauge illuminated by a lightening flash

The pointer was sagging menacingly low

I started hoping the traffic would start to flow

 

The straight eight engine in my '48 Buick began to shudder

I had to pull to the shoulder with a spit and a sputter

With anticipation I tried to re-fire

That Fire Ball Eight had no more desire

 

Now, I was vexed and really started fuming

The rain was still pouring, but the traffic started zooming

Into the weather I slide out the passenger side

I had to go get some gas for my antique ride

 

I was walking, now soaked to the bone

Feeling depressed and very much alone

I finally sloshed up to a Magic Market

Probably three miles from where I had to park it

 

I bought a gallon of gas, the can I had to rent

Back towards the high way I quickly went

A wreck of a car with two people inside

Stopped and asked me if I needed a ride


 

To decline the offer, was my first reaction

But, I wanted shelter from the precipitation

I jumped into the back seat and dried my face

The car bolted forward like it was in a race

 

I've always said, "You can't judge the honey by looking at the hive"

But, these guys had me fearing for my life

The one driving had only three teeth and spoke with an impediment

The other looked like a tattooed fugitive, an "institutional resident"

 

I started worrying, filling up with strife

I hoped, before I had left I had remembered to kiss my wife

Then old toothless said, "How far? My friend!"

I replied "About three miles from the ramp's end"

 

When these characters saw the antique car they began to howl

Oh, I thought, now they pull their weapons and I get disemboweled

They ran up behind the Buick and came to a stop

I was mumbling a prayer to God for a passing cop

 

I grabbed my gas and out the door I leaped

And hollered, "Thanks for the lift", to the passenger creep

But, both got out and the biggest one said, "We will stay!"

"To help you out and be sure you are back on your way!"

 

I thought, Oh, They won't kill me yet, they want my keys

I was trembling from my fingertips down to my knees

I pulled the lever and opened the hood

Next to me on each side these characters stood

 

I primed the carb and poured the rest in the tank

Slide behind the wheel and started to crank

It took many tries before the engine tasted the gas

But, it came to life and fired at last

 

They jumped up and down and shouted with glee

Now, I reckoned, they could take the car and do away with me

I figured while closing the hood, I'd disappear without a trace

But, you know I never detected any malice in either one's face

 

I slide behind the wheel and thanked them immensely

They closed my door standing in the drizzle smiling intensely

I slipped the shifter into first and released the clutch

Leaving behind in the mist, Two Angels, by whom I had been touched


To the Bone

                By George J. Kimble

 

We had worked all year at the research station

Way up the Ausable Chasm above the Lake Champlain Basin

Two days until Christmas, we are in the wilderness all alone

We both longed for the Holidays and the good folks at home

Weary to the bone

 

At supper a long silence was broken

We had decided to go home with words not spoken

She said, “We need to be rolling by first morning light”

I said, “ I’ll load the Corvette tonight”

Delighted to the bone

 

Christmas Eve came with a crystal clear dawn

I leaped out of bed and pulled my Long-Johns on

Thirty below zero on the thermometer outside the window

I did not care I was excited and raring to go

Clear to the bone

 

Mentally I plotted the course we would take

West on route three through Placid and Saranac Lake

Cross the Adirondacks over the high peaks by four

Then down into Watertown on the Ontario shore

Cut to the bone

 

Catch the interstate I-eighty-one

Shoot past Red Field before the setting of the Sun

Rush through Syracuse, Ithaca and past Cortland

We’d be home early, is what I had planned

Sure to the bone

 

As she locked the front door and pulled on a sweater

I unplugged the electric dipstick and the battery heater

I lowered the hood and closed the Corvette door

I turned the key and put my foot to the floor

Stunned to the bone

 

A low grumble and a moan, no ignition

In the back of my head, was this a premonition?

I called Mike, my nearest neighbor,

I said, “Bring your cables and your tractor”

Good to the bone

 

Like a bear leaving his den, growling my Corvette suddenly shook

A shot of ether and twenty four volts, is all that it took

You know temperatures this low turn oil into Jell-O

But, now my car was idling nice and mellow

Happy to the bone

 

Roads through the mountains are legend for their wrecks

None are more notorious than Rt. 3 in the Adirondacks

It is a snake coiled around many mountain breasts

It is always dangerous, and even great drivers it will test

Mean to the bone

 

It is picture perfect as we make our up slope flight

Beautiful Mountains covered in white

The radio guy says something about storm warnings

I switch the station. He was so boring

Dumb to the bone

 

She is beautiful; the cold air has reddened her checks

I am in Corvette bliss as we traverse the High Peaks

“There is no place as pretty as Lake Placid on Earth,”

She mentions the darkening sky for what it is worth

Worried to the bone

 

Across my windshield small droplets scurry

Little ice crystals mixed with snow flurries

Leaden sky, now, a Nor’easter does forebode

Slush is forming along the unsalted road

Soaked to the bone

 

Its spitting ice mixed with rain

Blast of snow screaming out of the Canadian Range

The clouds have closed down around our heads

A mountain winter storm all travelers must dread

Shaken to the bone

 

Our pace is drastically slowed

Visibility down to twenty feet of road

Sudden change to pure hard driven snow

Corvette wipers are working on over load

Close to the bone

 

Front tires struggle to maintain their grip

Rear wheels increasingly slip

Defroster can’t keep the windows clear

Her face is totally inscribed with fear

Stretched to the bone

 

Guardrails are vanishing beneath the layers of snow

It is awfully hard to tell which way to go

We can’t stop. We will be buried

I haven’t been this scared since we got married

Scared to the bone

 

On rushing flakes are hypnotizing

Each new slope is agonizing

Terrible crunching sounds are coming from below

As fender bergs break off from the packed snow

Pained to the bone

 

Slower, slower, progress measured in inches

At every new curve my partner winces

We are trapped in a clear white maze

The hood and windows are covered in icy glaze

Stuck to the bone


 

We have seen no other traffic

Our situation is drastic

Our nerves are all tensed

Muscles are pulsing and clenched

Stiffened to the bone

 

Our eyes are blurred, we’re snow blind

Awful fears fill our mind

Wandering along like a fighter on dope

We press on toward the Adirondack’s downward slope

Aching to the bone

 

It is a struggle of Nature against man and his machine

This was never a part of my wildest dream

The Corvette’s wide and balanced stance

Is the only weapon giving us a chance

Muscled to the bone

 

We come upon a lone way station

We pull in with out any reservations

We run to the entrance through the drifted lot

We are glad to be in a place that is warm, if not hot

Frozen to the bone

 

Now easing up to a blazing stove

We tell the story of how we drove

Then a rumble from the road so very loud

The storekeepers say, “The road is now plowed"

Warmed to the bone

 

We look to our Vette and the sun magically appears

We are going home to Holiday cheer

We will follow that big old plow

We are determined, nothing will stop us now

Resolute to the bone

 

Destination reached the moon shines bright on new fallen snow

Momma's house is warmly decorated and seems to glow

Everything as we always remembered it to be

Even our own stockings are hung by the tree

Beautiful to the bone

 

When duties or missions have for long made us roam

Blessed is the time we spend in our home

With loved ones on Christmas may no one be alone

I pray let us all be

MERRY to the bone