Monday, April 12, 2010

Trauma Car...The Legend Continues

I dated a guy from Eastern Kentucky when I had Trauma Car. Steve moved back home for financial reasons a couple of months after we met, to Martin, KY (population 800). Given the state of our finances and the 125 miles between Lexington and Martin, we decided to call it quits.

We did stay in touch--by phone--before unlimited long distance plans or e-mail. I was in love, or so I thought. Steve was lonely, bored and without a car. Trauma Car was mostly intact and running on all four cylinders. I offered to drive to Martin. Took 2 1/2 hours, a tank of gas, and $1.20 for the tolls. That was the first of many, many trips to Eastern Kentucky.

There wasn't much to do in Martin. Mostly we drove around--to Prestonsburg, around the lake at Jenny Wiley State Park, or maybe to Paintsville, Pikeville or even Huntington. When you got where you were going you went someplace else.

Late one Friday night I headed to Martin after work. We planned to go to Camden Park in Huntington the next day for the Fourth of July festivities. Camden Park always had a "big-name" entertainer on holidays and the best fireworks in the area.

Trauma Car didn't cooperate. The exhaust system fell off before I even got out of Lexington. I got second degree burns on one hand holding the tailpipe up so I could wire it back in place with a coat hanger. Brilliant!

Feeling quite proud of my ingenuity and more than a little festive, I picked up a 12-pack and continued to Martin. The tailpipe slipped loose before the first toll. Too late to turn back now. Might as well have another beer.

Dragging that tailpipe from Lexington did not improve engine efficiency or gas mileage. It did, however, provide a nonstop fireworks display in the rear-view mirror from the sparks as the tailpipe bounced off the pavement. By the time I got to Salyersville I was almost out of gas and more than a little buzzed.

Stopping for gas landed me in the Magoffin County jail. I used my one phone call at 3 a.m. to call Steve. His dad answered and said Steve had gone out earlier and wasn't home. Huh? Any message, he asked? Oh yeah--I had several messages for him but just said, "sure, when he gets home tell him I'm in the Magoffin County jail." He laughed.

Steve got me out of jail early the next morning. We got Trauma Car back and headed for a Fourth of July picnic with his large extended family. As the last to arrive we parked in the back of the field and headed toward the family, already enjoying fried chicken on picnic tables set up all over the yard. I was touched when upon seeing us, they all waved. I smiled and waved back. They got up from their seats to welcome us. Those mountain people sure are friendly!

Then I noticed several of them were waving with both arms. Note to self: next time your tail pipe is dragging, don't park in dry grass. As the waving became frantic I finally heard what they were yelling: The grass under your car is on fire!!!

Talk about making an entrance. We put the fire out and moved the car. I got cleaned up and ate enough down-home country cooking for three people. Then we headed to Huntington.

To be continued...

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