TERROR ON ORE BANK HILL

My first car was a 1931 Model A Ford sedan. I don’t think Ford called it a sedan. Probably some snooty name like “touring car.”

It cost $50.00 and took me all summer working at a gas station to pay for it. I recently paid $75.00 just to fill up the gas tank on my Chevy pickup truck. For that kind of money I could have bought one-and-a-half Model A Fords. Unfortunately, it’s not 1953 anymore.

I loved that car. But, of course, everyone loves his first car. Having a four-wheeled escape pod meant there was now a whole reachable world out there to explore. Prior to that, I couldn’t get any farther away from home than my bicycle would take me.

As kindly as I felt toward that car, it was also the cause of one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

I was driving on a road that took me over Ore Bank Hill, on the curviest road in the county. Once you reached the top, it was a steep downhill run for several miles, with nasty switch-backs and curves not banked to accommodate speeding vehicles and centrifugal force.

As I chugged to the top of the hill and started down the other side, I came to the first curve. I was picking up more speed than I was comfortable with, so I slammed on the brake. Teenagers do that a lot. Nothing subtle about most anything they do. A gentle pressing of the brake is not in a teen’s playbook.

Well, the Model A had a rod that connected the foot pedal to the mechanical braking system under the car. The problem was, the rod was made of cast iron. Cast iron does not handle slamming very well and it snapped, leaving me in near free-fall. Those old cars had no compression to help hold the speed down and it was impossible to down-shift in those pre-synchromesh transmission days.

So there I was, on the scariest road imaginable, careening downhill in a top-heavy vehicle with no brakes. I was seventeen years old and certain I would never see eighteen, whipping this way and that, wrestling the non-power steering wheel, skinny 21-inch tires squealing at every curve, picking up speed for several hair-raising miles.

Finally, I got to the bottom of the hill and was able to coast to a stop. Thinking back to that experience I wonder once more how I managed to survive my youth.

Anyone who doesn’t believe in God has never ridden a Model A Ford with no brakes down Ore Bank Hill.

 

Books by Steve Liddick: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=steve+liddick

Steve LiddickAuthor of “All That Time,” “Old Heroes,” “Prime Time Crime,” “Sky Warriors,” “But First This Message: A Quirky Journey in Broadcasting,” “A Family Restaurant is No Place for Children,” “Campsite Gourmet: Fine Dining on the Trail and on the Road,” and “Eat Cheap: A Cookbook and Guide To Stretching Your Food Budget Dollars.”

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PUT HUMANITY BACK IN HUMAN NATURE

I suppose it’s human nature to be wary of an individual who has offended, injured, disrespected, or committed a crime against us. It is natural to be reluctant to allow that person to ever get close to us again or to enjoy a position of trust.
But is it right to distrust an entire race, religion, occupational group, or political body because of the actions of a few? That kind of thinking got Japanese-Americans imprisoned during WWII. They looked like the enemy, so they were treated like the enemy and locked up—just in case.
There is a theory making the rounds these days that, since a group of terrorists using Islam as its umbrella organization is forcing a malignant version of Islam on the world, then all followers of Islam must also be bad and all Muslims should be booted out of America and no more allowed in.
There were good Germans during World War II who fought against the Nazis and supported the Jews that were so hated by Adolph Hitler and his evil band of followers. There are Muslims who resent that their religion has been hijacked by a band of thugs that believes that those who do not think as they do should be killed.
As difficult as it might be to believe, there are more good members than bad ones in our gridlocked Congress. Crooked, self-serving politicians are in the minority. The other kind are in the news, hungry for your attention and their aspirations for re-election and higher office.
There are a lot of good cops out there, working to make their cities and towns safe. It is wrong to target all police because of a few rogues.
Let’s not punish the honorable and the innocent while punishing the guilty.
Let’s not treat everyone like the worst one