22 Holes! – And One Big Dent!

No suspense here, but the way it happened was—I can say this now—downright comical.

I made it through the rest of the afternoon; I was a mad-man at football practice, taking out my fear and frustration on anyone that crossed my path; Coach Ramsey was impressed.

When I arrived at the gas station, the same guy was still there, and he was grinning like a possum as he came rolling the new tire out of the work area. I scowled at him as he went by, then watched as he put the tire into the back of the El Camino. The way he accomplished that little chore impressed my sixteen-year-old mind greatly.

What he did, was pick the tire up about a foot off the ground, then dropped it. The tire bounced about two feet into the air, and he grabbed it in one sweetly smooth motion and guided it into the back of the truck. I looked at him, my mouth open and eyes wide, and he just shrugged and grinned even bigger. All the way home, I was thinking about the way he bounced that tire; it was as though it got into the pickup by magic!

Okay, you know where this is going, but let me remind you that in Arizona, we had a border all the way around the yard, so when the irrigation man flooded it once a week, the water would stay in the yard and soak in.

So I pull up in front of the house, jump out of the truck, thinking I should get the tire changed before the old man gets home. I reach in, thinking the trick the dude did at the station should work in reverse, grab the tire, swing it over the edge of the El Camino, and drop it. The tire hits the border around the yard, and because it hit there, and not on the flat ground, it slams into the side of the pickup.

I’m near tears as I stand staring at a half-moon shaped dent the exact size of a tire in the rear quarter-panel of the—did I mention the El Camino was fairly new—El Camino. “Holy crap!” I screamed.

No time for tears—plenty for panic—so I raced around to the store room, where I kept my body and fender tools. Yes, I had some—I think I mentioned in my “Go Get The Drew Twins” story that I was in the never ending process of fixing up my Austin Healey.

Amazingly, I was able to bang the dent out in no time at all, and got the tools put away and the tire changed before the old man got home; just barely.

Much to my dismay, he pulled up as I was finishing, and had his buddy Dave with him. The Austin Healey was small—a two-seater—and Dave was a big guy (my dad wasn’t small, but Dave dwarfed him) so they looked like Magilla Gorilla and King Kong stuffed into the little car. As they freed themselves from the confines of the tiny car, I was horrified to see, in the small space behind them, what, I had no doubt, was the tire with 22 holes in it.

The old man grabs the tire with one hand, walks around to the back of the El Camino and drops the tailgate. Setting the tire on the tailgate, he says to Dave, “C”mere, Dave. Lemme show you what my boy did.”

My faced turned the color of the El Camino.

Did I mention that the El Camino was a beautiful deep maroon?


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Did he ever find out about dent?

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