The Model T and Potholes

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Mama held me tight on her lap in the backseat of Uncle Herb’s old Model T Ford as we bounced toward Clarksville, bound to spend the Fourth of July with Grandma and Grandpa Perkins.  She was worried I’d fall out the window, though how I’d have managed it was a mystery to me with the death grip she me in.  John sat next to the other window, a box with several quarts of Mama’s pickles and fresh tomatoes rattling between us.  Daddy stayed behind to milk and take care of the garden.  I don’t think he minded not going to Grandma’s at all.

In 1934, only a red-dirt road ran four miles between Cuthand Creek and Cuthand.  Rutted and often impassable in winter. It was riddled with huge potholes in summer, a real obstacle course for the battered old Model T Uncle Herb had just acquired.  We were delighted to see him and it, since he was the first in the family to own a car.  Dust fogged up about a half-mile from home when the car bumped into a pot-hole and rattled to a stop.  When it wouldnt start again, he lifted the hood, finding aimage

part had rattled off.  Looking behind us, he found the part, replaced it, and off we went.  This obviously wasn’t the first time it had worked loose.  The threads were stripped nearly bare.  After the next big bump, the same thing happened.  He found the part and screwed it back on, though he knew it wouldn’t hold long.  It didn’t.  Not thirty feet down the road, it fell off again on a moderately smooth section of road.  He left the left side of the hood up, had Uncle Dave sit on  the right fender and hold the part in place as he slowly navigated between potholes the rest of the way in to Cuthand, where he could make some repairs.  Mama kept a watch behind as Dave clung perilously to the fender while trying to keep the car running.  It was a long four miles into Cuthand.

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