The Adventure’s of Tilly

A man with boots and a cowboy hat walks into an auto parts store. Prior to the arrival at this store, the man’s wife was commenting on the thick smell of curry. Unfortunately, in this part of town, it was highly unlikely that there was an Indian restaurant nearby. The smell wasn’t basted chicken in a lovely yellow curry sauce, in reality it was the smell of anti-freeze being slung about the engine bay, roasting on the hot manifold. At the stop light, the man saw the steam pouring out every seam of the truck’s hood. Inevitably, they were going to have to stop and investigate. The auto parts store was conveniently right on the corner.

We had been thinking about this little jaunt for a few days, as my wife had been offered a free vintage love seat. This is what our truck, our beloved ‘Tilly, was built for back in 1952, running errands on a sunny day from the homestead. The drive may be slow, meandering, loud and bumpy, but it’s also charming and sweet, bringing smiles to our faces. Tilly has been sleeping through winter, waiting for the sun to shine and the warmth to return. Unfortunately, during the winter she had developed a little weep from the radiator, but seemed an easy fix. Not so long ago I installed the replacement and after a short test drive deemed her to be sound.

Or so I thought.

One of the hoses I had installed was not sealing well on the thermostat, pouring fluid down into the fan and  all throughout the engine bay, steaming on the manifold and causing that rather pungent “curry” smell. It seemed a simple fix, if you could buy the proper part off the shelf. But for this old gal, nothing is easy, and required me and the part’s store manager to scour his book of hoses, checking against his inventory until we finally found something that might work. I also had to purchase a catch pan, because the repair in the lot was going to cause an environmental disaster once I undid the ill-fitting hose.

My wife watched from the cab of the truck, unable to get out her side door because the door latch handle had fallen off about a block from our house. I was also lacking the wheel chocks, and used my toolbox as a temporary measure during the initial diagnosis. Yet, when it came time to obtain the proper screwdriver, I had to slide my wife out the driver’s door, have her hold the vehicle just to retrieve my flat headed screwdriver. That wasn’t very practical, needless to say, so we bought a pair of wheel chocks as well.

After much conversation with the store manager, and some other customers, I finally located a hose that would fit properly. It required some cutting and new hose clamps, but in short order the leak was stopped. Locals who came by to gawk at Tilly sung out with glee and cheered us on. Nothing like an old truck to bring people together, tell their stories, and though few offered to help, we all had to smile at just how cute Tilly was.

Problem solved, we set off on our journey. We were running strong, smiles on our faces, and the smell of curry starting to fade. About a mile down the road, while pulling to a stop at a traffic light, something went “clunk” and my wife and I looked at each other knowing some bit had just fallen off. I slung the wheel and hauled us into a Burger King where we could investigate further. Finding nothing ill, we set back off, but that was when my wife, who couldn’t get out of her door easily, saw the Chevy badge that had fallen off the hood laying in the street. She risked life and limb, raced to the gutter, retrieved the badge, waved at the gawkers and laughed as she jumped back in.

We made good time after that, nothing amiss, until we were about a mile from our destination and suddenly when I pushed the pedal, all I did was rev the engine but there was no acceleration. Momentum carried us to a side street, and I pulled over thinking this was it, I was calling a tow. Thankfully, just seemed that the bumpy roads had knocked us out of gear. We sighed relief and set off, finishing our journey.

Thankfully, the trip home had no mishaps. We arrived in our garage, patting the dash and saying, “Nice job, Tilly, good girl.” What should have been nothing more than an hour trip there and back, turned into a two and a half hour adventure we shall never forget every time we look or sit on our new love seat.



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