Before I turned sixteen my social life was dismal failure, what with fifteen miles of deserted, country road between me and the girlfriend I was absolutely nuts about. She lived on Plum Street, “plum outta town,” she said more times than I care to remember. She didn’t know the definition of outta town.
So a week before I turned sixteen every free hour was spent making the car somewhat legal. Driving was not a problem. I’d been driving tractors, combines, and farm trucks since I was tall enough to reach the pedals. The car was the problem, 1939 Buick, two years younger than me, that had never seen a proper repair in its lifetime.
I was probably skilled beyond my years in solving mechanic and electrical problems, but I was severely challenged that autumn in 1953. This thing had to be right, or at least seem that way to the tester.
The dimmer switch was burned out, and I had no cash for a replacement. I cut the park light wire at the headlight switch, and wired in the low beam in its place, because I knew the tester would be out front looking at my lights and not inside seeing what I did to make that occur. The park brake was a different problem. A cables coming from each rear wheel met halfway forward where a length adjuster was installed. It would have been a simple matter had my adjuster was a ball of rust. So, I fastened a 4×4 to the car frame, making the park brake cable, for all practical purposes, shorter.
What was I like on my sixteenth birthday? I was a nervous wreck. What if he listened for the click of the headlight dimmer switch? What if he got on his hands and knees and spotted my 4×4? Without a doubt my name would be added to a list and I wouldn’t be permitted to test again for forty years.
But the old Buick passed. I passed. Nothing else mattered. I had wheels.
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen/”>Only Sixteen</a>