Saturday, February 5, 2011
The father of a school friend of mine owned a 1936 dark blue Cord Phaeton automobile and it was a breathtaking sight to behold. Her dad worked away from home and only came home on the weekends. In the summer, one Thursday, around 1:00 PM, she and her younger brother decided to bring the car out of the garage even though they were forbidden to use it. She got the keys, uncovered the car, started the car and slowly backed it out of the garage onto the driveway. She planned to take us for a drive although that was obviously also forbidden. The car suddenly stopped and no matter what she did, the car would not start. She thought it might need gasoline, but she couldn't get it started to be able to check the gas gauge. She announced she would put it in neutral but she couldn't do that either. We used her car to get gasoline, but that was not the problem as the gas tank was almost full. Gasoline spilled onto the driveway, leaving a stain.
Her mother would be home after 5:00 PM and of course, she would also be very upset. Her father would be home on Friday evening.
What to do? We called everyone we knew who might know something about cars. Several people came over but all just walked around the car, marveling at its beauty. It took ten people to get it back into the garage. We later learned that the clutch had to be depressed all the way down to engage the starter.
When her father arrived home, he always came through the garage, leaving his work boots in the garage. He walked in the living room, looked at his son and quietly asked, "Who moved the Cord?" The son was not used to his father being quiet when he was angry, and said, "Nobody moved it." He called my friend who was hiding out in her room. Her father calmly asked her who had moved the car and she also lied to him. He asked his wife and she was totally unaware of their having moved the car and she asked, "How do you know it was moved?" He said it was two inches off from how he always left it!
My friend tearfully admitted that she wanted to "show off" the car to her friends. Her father, normally a very explosive individual, asked, "Why the Hell didn't you ask me to show it to them?" He told them he saw the gasoline stain in the driveway and saw the dust where the car had been moved.
I imagine he took the keys with him after that.