Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The lost gas tank

We all know enough about cars to know that they break down. The starter gets fried, the transmission goes out, and we have to from time to time deal with nuisances such as flat tires. But sometimes truly unusual things happen to our vehicles.

Back in the Seventies we had a tan Chevy Suburban. With Mom and Dad and seven of us kids, you had to have a car large enough to transport everyone around, and Suburbans fit the bill. One day, I was 13 or 14, Mom and I were going to or coming back from somewhere and were just tooling along the street. Suddenly there was a loud and emphatic 'ker-thump!" and a terrible dragging sound. Mom eased the car to the curb. "Get out and see what's wrong," she instructed me.

I wasn't sure what she thought I would know to look for, but fortunately the trouble was obvious. When I got to the back of the Suburban, I saw the gas tank plain as day laying on the asphalt. It was held on by only the gas line.

I went back and said to Mom, "The gas tank fell off."

"Oh, come on," she responded. The tone in her voice and the look on her face told me she didn't believe that could possibly be the case.

"Ma, it's laying on the ground," I replied, incredulous myself really.

She got out, walked around the car, the looked at me and laughed. "You're right, the gas tank's fell off," she concurred. Thanks for the vote of confidence Mother.

Back then there weren't cell phones but pay phones were still all over. We found one only a block away and we weren't far from home either. So me Pops and me Uncle John came, disconnected the tank, and towed us home. The straps holding the tank in place had rusted through, and it turned out an easy fix. And though I'm sure the story is out there, I've yet to hear a car trouble tale quite so bizarre as dropping the gas tank.

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