The Tank

By, O’Ceallaigh

It was a dark and stormy morning!

Don’t ask me – I’ve just always wanted to start a story with that line. But, the fact is, that’s what mornings have been here for most of the summer. Low clouds, rain and dank weather. Maybe that’s why I started writing these little stories – something to spice up my mornings.

In any event, this morning I walked just a short distance from the four corners and passed Mike’s house. Mike died last spring. It was quite a loss to the neighborhood. He was one of those sanguine people who made friends easily. As a consequence, everybody knew him.

His motorhome was in the backyard. I guess one of his boys must have brought it back up north from Florida after his accident. I wonder what his wife will do? Mike was a good guy! We went to his memorial service up on the lake. There were about 200 of his friends there. Maybe more, who knows? I’m glad we went. I think his wife appreciated it.

I bought a motorhome once.

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I called it “The Tank.” It needed a little TLC when I bought it, and I worked on it for a couple of weeks and when I was finished it looked like new!  But, the real story is how it arrived home after the purchase.

It was about 35 feet long and had all the toys for the vintage. It was in Elizebethtown, Pennsylvania when I bought it. That was a problem.

You see, I have this naughty little neurological condition that diminishes my ability to keep my eyelids open. Driving any long distance is problematic. The Mrs. does most of the driving on trips; my driving is mostly restricted to short runs. Maybe to the end of the driveway!   Really, I might venture into town, to church or to the store, but that’s about it. I figured Kathy would learn to drive The Tank.  It didn’t turn out that way.  Maybe I’ll tell that story sometime….

So, after we bought this thing we asked a very good friend if he would be willing to go with us to “E-town” to pick it up and drive it the 200 miles back. Earl, good friend that he is, readily agreed.

On arrival in E-town we checked The Tank out, filled it with fuel, and about $200 later we were on our way back north. The thing “drove like a car” Earl said, so pleased was he to be able to run this huge 15,000 pound box up and down the hills of Pennsylvania.  How fast was he going?  I didn’t even look!

I just sat back and relaxed. I really did!  Earl’s a good driver!

Now on the way there is a town called Ridgeway. Where it got its name I’m not sure, but it’s probably from the topography of the area. Mountains and valleys! – There’s a huge steep hill leading down into the town with a ninety degree turn at the bottom, right in the middle of the town. At the top of the hill there is a place called “Boot Jack Summit.”

I was in Switzerland one time… but , that’s another story!

Boot Jack Summit is one of those places like the Swiss Alps where the top of the mountain is always in the clouds. This is where the hill starts. And, this is where Earl pulled over onto the shoulder!

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“The brakes don’t feel quite right.” Earl said.

“Do you have any pedal?” I hesitantly asked him.

“Not what I should have!” He said, his face ashen!

I got out and checked all over for fluid leaks and found nothing. “Maybe Earl’s just dreaming,” I mumbled to myself and got back into The Tank.

“Well, let’s take the truck by-pass, just in case,” I said as I clambered  in. I buckled my seat belt – pulled it an extra tug. I didn’t care if I couldn’t breathe for an hour or so!

We carefully proceeded taking the by-pass which had a longer run but much less of a grade into the city. I saw Earl pull the shift lever into “LO” to put a little more drag on the engine.

We got to the bottom, then to the stop sign, and then stopped.

I breathed again

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. Earl kept his speed well within the moderate range and carefully maneuvered through all the hills, valleys and turns on route 948. Up through Warren, Sugar Grove and Home! He backed it in the driveway and turned off the key.

I think I slept that night, I couldn’t tell. Who knows?

The next morning I decided to take the thing to Matt to have it checked out. I started it up and went to the end of the driveway and applied the brakes. – Nothing!  I mean flat on the floor – Nothing!  No brakes at all!  If I had known…!

I immediately thought of Psalm 34:7! “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that serve Him and delivereth them!?”

Thank you, Lord!

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