Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)
TITLE: Road Trip - True Story, no really, it happened.
By Bill Ebert
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The car was filled with exhaust fumes, and we were still 900 miles from our destination–there was no way we were turning back. Since the little MG convertible had such a bad leak in the engine, the smoke from the burning oil and the exhaust fumes filled the passenger compartment in just minutes. With it being mid-winter and our destination Ohio’s north coast, there was the risk of smoke inhalation from the fumes or certain death from frost bite if we rode with the top down.
The last time I made this trip I was even more desperate than today. I had in my pocket a little felt box, and with the two weeks of carrying the box, touching the box, and protecting the box, I wore all the felt off the engagement ring’s little package. That time I was heading to Ohio to propose to the lady I would marry, and this time was the first time she left me—not really left me, but it sure felt that way. It was a simple 10 day trip to visit her family and she took our newborn baby for all her clan to smooch him to death.
I couldn’t wait 10 DAYS to see my wife again and hold my baby—I had to go! I talked my best friend Paul into driving me; since his little car would surely be better on gas than my old station wagon, “I’ll pay, you drive, It’ll be fun!”
Turns out, oil by the case is a bit pricey, but who knew the MG would use two cases of oil on a trip to and back to Oklahoma. We kept the hood down as long as we could, but we lost feeling in our hands and feet. So, off the road and, “up the hood” then back on the choking highway.
We breathed for a while through two radiator hoses pushed out the widow and over our mouths to get fresh air. The exhaust burned our eyes, tears ran down our faces and left streaks of white down our cheeks, in the oily soot compiling on our faces. We would glance over and look at how silly the other guy looked breathing through a tube and laughed so hard it made it harder to breathe. I’ll bet you never heard a guy laugh through a radiator hose before; well, that’s all it took for us to be crying and laughing so hard we had to pull over.
I was too passionate and he was too loyal for us to have enough reason to turn back. We pressed on. I kept reminding him how the early settlers had it far worse with Indians and broken wagon wheels, but it didn’t seem to help us in the freezing winter night.
I learned a saying later, “Friendship is built on inconvenience”. I guess this made Paul my best friend for life.
We made it; the family laughed. I hugged my baby and saw my wifey. She loves my passion for her; I pursue her like a wild Lion. I guess it’s the reason she said, “Yes,” after only knowing me for 14 days. It’s been 20 years since that driving adventure and now she’s not allowed to leave me ever again. So once or twice a year, all (6 of us now) drive to Ohio and let the Familia smooch us all to death.
Paul and I drove home the very next day, as we both had work to get back to, but it was worth it–for me at least, Paul never said.
One mile back and BAM! The car breaks down on the side of the road. Paul makes fake crying noises, but I know he really wanted to. New fan belt, new quart of oil and off again. The drive back home was almost as bad and the smell of burning oil still makes me nauseous. Paul remained our very dearest and best friend till he found a wifey of his own. His passion for his wife and babies, I’ve only seen in one other guy. Thanks Paul. We love you. I love you.
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