My first steady job at 16 was afternoons and weekends at a Garage. I absolutely loved this job, and pay was not an issue, I was having a blast and learning volumes. But I had to quit.
After a year, and so much experience, beyond just growing up on the farm. I had a bad week. It was summer and I was working fulltime. Monday went normal, but on Tuesday, on a late rainy afternoon in upstate SC, I had just rebuilt the brakes, and wheel cylinders on a half-ton 57 Chevy pickup. On the road test, it came a downpour of God-sent proportions and on turning at neighboring filling station I touched those brakes, and in slow motion and about 5 MPH, I hydroplaned and floated off the road and down a 100 foot embankment. That’s the bad news. Good news is I pushed up turf and dirt and stopped half-way. Predicament is when I stepped off the truck it wanted to turn over, but if I stayed it was fine. There I sat on the rear end in the rain. In two hours a good ole boy came by and yanked me out with a 4WD one ton.
Wednesday, I was replacing the rear differential on an empty pickup when a jack-stand crushed. I managed to use a tanker bar I reached with my feet and made a fulcrum to lift it off. Heck I could almost lift it off with nothing. So I was out of that.
Thursday, a Ford tractor with select-O-shift jumped out of park, sitting there hoisting a 350 engine and tranny on boom, rolling toward a couple of people, sure to crush their legs between bumpers. I yelled, took a hero-pill and jumped up on the tractor from the left, straddled-caught the brakes with my right foot, as the left tire cleats yanked me off rolled over my left leg and crotch, ripping my pants in both places, and there I stood with myself exposed, bruised but otherwise OK. I stopped the tractor within six inches of their legs. I told the boss, I was OK, but doggone, if something else happens, I may have to quit. It was good for a laugh.
Friday, nothing, normal, great day day. Had a blast at work.
Saturday went normal, but late that afternoon another storm of God-sent proportion came, thundering and pouring rain. I was cleaning the cylinder head of a Pinto with an electric wire brush. Then it happened. A 75 year old Baptist preacher from up on the mountain dropped in, pulling the nose of his brand new black 77 Ranger Ford pickup, rain beading up of perfect wax. He quickly opened the door and jumped in the shop and stopped about the left front fender, raised his hand to pat his truck hood, like those salesman did on TV, and it happened. Lightening struck close, and hit the shop. I can still see this! The preacher’s hand was about six inches from the hood, and I was suddenly flying thru the air, still holding that electric wire brush. As I landed about fifteen feet from the Pinto, I saw fire between the preachers hand and the Ranger. Yes, fire flew from his finger-tips. Then vulgarity and cursing from his lips.
My hair is standing on end, my clothes are smoking and I cannot control the laughter. It welled deep from within and seemed to be endless. I laughed until my stomach hurt. The guys in the shop seen everything I saw, and were incapacitated with laughter, which echoed and boomed thru the shop. Everybody is laughing but the preacher. The boss came out and asked me if I was OK, he was nearly crying from laughing too.
“Yeah, I’m just fine”. I said. “I guess the good Lord don’t have to kill me to get the message through… I quit. Time for another job. ' And that was my last day at work there.
Wayne, NC, entered 2003-06-28
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