To Know Me Is To Know My Family: (33) Stand back kids I don’t want you getting hurt.

One day Dad had taken the old Model T Ford they owned out to down town Olympia. He was going on an errand and brought my sisters and brother along. The ride was going along smoothly, when as he approached 4th Avenue East when suddenly he felt a familiar feeling of the car sort of dragging on the right rear side. The unbalance and hard to steer feeling. That limping sound. He pulled over where the open space was available. He told the kids to stay put in the car. He walked around to the right side of the car and sure enough his fear was confirmed, he had a flat tire. Luckily there was a spare tire on the trunk of the car. The jack was attached to the car and available. Mind you that the jack was nothing like we have now, in fact nothing like even the cars in the 40’s.

My Dad feeling that it may not be safe to leave the children in the car, opened the door and had them file out, one by one. He told them to stand close to the building behind them and to stand right in front of it. He told them to stay together and not to come close as he didn’t want to take the chance that they might get hurt. So, there they stood, holding hands and wondering just exactly what their Daddy was going to do.

My Dad was very mechanical, but not when it came to cars. He took the spoked tire off the back of the car and leaned it against the curb. Rolling up his sleeves he started the project of pulling out the attached jack from the car. When doing research, it said that changing a tire on a Model T was no easy task, much less a necessarily a safe one. When he tugged on the jack a part of it jetted out and popped him in his mouth. Putting his hand to his mouth along with blood one of his molars dropped into his hand. Dad always carried a fresh handkerchief every day. He pulled it out of his pocket and applied it to his mouth to stop the bleeding as my siblings looked on in fear of their Daddy being hurt. My Dad stepped away from the car for a few minutes to reassure his children. When the bleeding stopped and the kids where sure that Dad would be alright, he told them once again to stand back as he continued his work on the flat tire. He successfully got the spare in place and on safely. There were no more casualties that day. Yes, it was a fight to the finish with the Model T, but after the initial blow, Dad came out the victor that day. Dad once again loaded the kids into the car and continued on his errand. But he knew that he had a new story to tell my Mom when he got home.

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