Petey Bob's Old Car

Paul Marion Fleetwood

Copyright 2016 by  Paul Marion Fleetwood


Photo of Petey Bob's car.

    I love my grandkids.  They are mostly all grown up and moved away now but what times we had.  And what stories I told them.   Stories of my growing up.  They loved the stories because most of them were true.

    So I got to thinking;  I bet my great great grandkids would enjoy old Petey Bob's stories long after I am gone.  And the only way I could figure out to make that happen was to write them down.  So I have started to do just that. 

    Since I had so many interesting and funny real life experiences it was just a matter of picking a format of how to arrange the different categories.  For example; I have owned so many old cars that I literally can't remember them all.  And I have had some really funny and also scary situations happen.  So here we go children....Oh I need to tell you one more thing.  My real name is Paul but I refused to go by Paul when I was a baby.  When mom called me Paul I would say uh-uh Bob.  So they finally gave in and called me Bob.   But I was named after my uncle Paul whose nickname was Pete so I ended up as Petey Bob.  I finally outgrew the Petey part but I have been called Bob all my life.

    I learned to drive in my uncle Joe's 1935 Ford sedan.  That was in 1945 so the car was old and having some problems.  It had mechanical brakes which didn't work well.  We would tighten them up but after two or three stops they wouldn't stop the car and the only way to stop was to gear it down and then turn off the key.  Then it would gradually slow down and stop.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

    The first time I tried to drive it went like this.  Uncle Joe was working at the family sawmill out in the middle of the woods on Grandpa's farm.  He had parked his car near the mill next to a big oak tree.  I sneaked in and got in the car and started it up.  Then for practice I was just backing it up a few feet and then pulling it up a few feet to learn how to use the clutch and brake.  They couldn't hear me because the mill made so much noise cutting lumber.

    I was getting the hang of everything but I got so involved in moving it forward and backward that I forgot to watch how close I was to the oak tree.  Shoot!! I rubbed against the tree with the left front fender while backing up.  Maybe not to bad, right?  Yes it was bad because the left front fender had a small tear to start with and it caught on the rough oak bark and ripped the fender about half off.  Oh double shoot!!  Well I put the car back where it started from and quietly sneaked away.  

    Uncle Joe never said anything about it and I didn't either.  Later he let me drive around the farm to help at one thing or another and then after a while I would drive it to the store a couple of miles away.  To get there I had to drive a mile or so on a gravel road and then on the highway.  When I need to stop I would drop the gear down to second and then to first and then turn off the key.  Remember, no brakes!

    One day I was tooling along on the gravel road about 30 mph when the left front tie rod fell off.  This made it impossible to steer and the front wheels cut hard left and the car left the road and started out through the woods.  I down shifted a couple of times before I started hitting trees.  Luckily for me the first few trees I hit were small saplings and they slowed the car down before I hit a large tree.

    Well there I was, so what to do.  On the other side of the road was a wire fence on a farmers field.  I walked along the fence and found a piece of baling wire hanging on the fence.  I took the wire and crawled under the car and wired the tie rod back together well enough to drive on to the store.  But when I tried to stop at the store by gearing it down the old transmission finally gave way and locked up.  It sounded like it tore off all of the gear teeth.

    That was pretty much the end of the car I learned to drive in.  It was fun though and I learned how to slow down and stop with out any brakes.  But children that technique doesn't work with cars of today that have automatic transmissions.

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