The Car On The Porch
Back when I was in college, about a million years ago, our family car wound up on our neighbor’s porch. I can truthfully say, I had nothing to do with it, which is probably why it is so funny to me. The car was a beast. It was about 1986, and the car was a 1960 Chevy station wagon, white with red vinyl interior. It looked like a hearse. It was the first car I was ever allowed to drive, being as it was so heavy and safe and all. Well, maybe not so safe. I knew well that that car’s brakes were iffy at best. Placed in park, the thing would roll. If you put on the parking brakes, well, it might roll or it might not. All I know is I had taken it to the grocery store, put the parking brake on, and wound up chasing the damn thing down through the parking lot before it could hit anything. I thought my dad knew about those brakes. The driving brakes went out on my mom and me one day when we were driving the car down the hill away from our house. The hill was a winding one that went down to the lake. When we hit the T-intersection at the lake, the brakes just didn’t work. There was a little girl sitting on the pier straight down from where our car was headed. Mom somehow had the presence of mind to whip the car between two pine trees off to the right, and pull the car in a perfect 180 on the gravel of the parking lot. Disaster avoided. But mom was furious and she told Daddy that he had to fix those brakes or we would never drive that car again.
Well. You’d think the brakes would’ve gotten fixed. And they did, the driving brakes got fixed, but somehow, the parking brake got overlooked. One day, my dad drove the car home from work and decided to switch cars out in the carport (we had a 2-car carport and 3 cars). I don’t know why he felt the need to switch out the cars. I guess he had his reasons. Anyway, he put that station wagon in park at the top of the hill while he went and got the other car, and when he turned around, it was rolling. Down that same hill, toward the lake. I believe I mentioned, however that that road is winding. He started chasing the car, but somehow, the driver’s side door had locked itself. So he was fumbling in his pocket for keys and chasing and jiggling the door handle all at the same time. The car ran off the road and into our neighbor’s yard. Somehow it got around some railroad ties, between a couple of trees, and ran right up on the neighbor’s porch. Thankfully, we were good friends with our neighbors. My best friend lived there, and she was in the house at the time, getting ready for a date. Her folks were both at home. They all heard a loud BOOM in the front of the house. Bill threw open the door, and there was the car, steaming and ticking over, up on the porch. It had hit a column and knocked it askew. According to (now urban legend) our neighbor, Bill, saw my dad running up behind the car, white as a ghost. Without missing a beat, Bill called back over his shoulder to his wife, “Barb! Put some coffee on! The neighbors are here!”
The next problem was, we couldn’t figure out how to get the car OFF the porch, which might damage the house further. The car itself had not a mark on it. They built ’em to last back in the day. It sat there for at least a week, and Mom and I got great amusement out of hiding behind the curtains in the living room and watching the cars driving up the road do a double take. They would slam on the brakes and baaaaack up, and crane their heads out the window. Some even brought cameras. The other problem was, although Mom and I found the whole thing hilarious, my dad was mortified and did not see the humor in the situation at all. Mom got some great pictures of the car on the porch, but my father has forbidden us to get them out. Ha.
I told the story of the car on the porch to my seven year-old daughter. I told her to make sure to ask her grandfather allll about that story. I told her to ask for pictures too. One way or the other, he will acknowledge the hilarious tale of The Car On The Porch.