Saturday, June 28, 2014 • 11:35am
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Today I am grateful for car rattles. During the test drive of my “new” car a few days ago, I returned to the dealer and mentioned a bad rattle I had heard. He removed the spring-loaded luggage screen and we all decided that was probably the issue. I decided to take the car, but never drove it again until the day we took it home.
It rattled the entire way. I about went insane. I pulled over so John could sit in back to determine where it was coming from. He couldn’t tell. We opened hatches and poked at nonsense but nothing seemed the culprit. I figured I’d get up in the morning, hop in it to go to the pool and the demons who’d caused it would have fixed it. Yeah right. I rattled all the way, especially on bad roads and that’s all we have these days.
On the way to the pool I called Chris at Faulkner-Ciocca Ford, in Quakertown, PA. I told him I could not stand the rattle and that I was bringing it back to have them figure out what it was after my appointments. I hadn’t purchased any of the million maintenance plans we were offered so I was afraid I’d get some grief. None. Not one bit.
Chris hopped in the car and I drove him down the road. Rattle, rattle, rattle. He spun his head around, offered some possibilities and said, “That rattle would drive me nuts, too. I don’t blame you for bringing this back.” Validation. Yes! Back at the lot he told me he’d get to the bottom of it. He was the first of several guys checking, opening hatches, riding in the back with the hatch down, then up. They must have looked like the Keystone Kops with bodies hanging out of the back of the car.
When they were off playing rattle, I waited in the lobby and had some time for memories. My dad, Willie, worked at a car dealer. He repaired cars, became the parts manager, then service manager. Willie didn’t mind if his car had two thousand empty matchbooks in it, or if the grease from his coveralls permanently stained the seats, or if the car he was driving from the lot was such a wreck that it leaked oil like a faucet full on. He used drain oil taken from other cars in some of the wrecks he drove. He’d just pour kitty litter on the oil slick on the street and sweep it up. I was 40 before I realized you needed to have oil changed in a car. I thought you poured it in, it ran through, you put kitty litter on and then swept it up. Done. Repeat when the oil light came on.
But Willie hated rattles. A rattle would compel him to hoist a rust-bucket-junker, barely able to hold together on the ground, onto the rack. If he couldn’t find the problem he’d call me into the picture. “You drive and I’m going to crawl around the back until I find that damned rattle,” he practically begged. The man got my piece-o-crap cars running, when I had no money for repairs so I couldn’t refuse his requests. I’d drive over the worst roads with him hanging out the back window, or opening the back door to lean under the car. . .yes when it was moving at 40 miles an hour on a gravel road! A few times he’d go in the trunk. I’m serious. The rattle could not win! He’d pop the lid up and down like he was trying to escape. When he bellowed, “STOP!” after slamming the lid down tight, I’d screech to a halt. “I found it!” he’d shout, muffled through the half pulled out back seat. “You can stop and get me outta here.” These days I’d be picked up for kidnapping or elder abuse. Sometimes I’d fumble the keys a little or knock on the trunk asking if anyone was in there. “You out there? You ever gonna let me out? Rotten kid!” That was affection from my dad. Oh come on. . .I let him out! Eventually.
At the Faulkner-Ciocca Ford dealer, in Quakertown, PA, waiting for the “action” team to figure out the Escape’s rattle and hearing them talk about how they found it could have been annoying. But I’m grateful for that car rattle because the experience brought back such great memories of my dad. Oh, and it’s fixed! No more rattle. Willie would be proud.
Each and every day I find something to be grateful for. My gratitude's are heartfelt, personal, moving and often humorous. Facebook followers have encouraged me to branch out. I hope you will relate.
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