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We are selling my little red truck to my son-in-law. The kids are desperate for a car and he needs something to get back and forth to work in (since public transit in the Portland metro area isn’t worth beans in the suburbs). The hitch is: my truck needs a clutch. I drove it for eight years with a bad clutch but it finally got to be dangerously loose. (The upshot of that is I learned how to speed-shift.)

Sam has a mechanic who will do the clutch for a couple hundred dollars plus the cost of parts. I warned him that it probably needs more than the basic clutch but Sam is willing to pay for it so he can have reliable transportation.

Tonight started out with a search for the right clutch. Once Sam found that, he returned to pick up the truck. The plan was to drive the truck 13 miles to the mechanic’s. But the truck wouldn’t start. I came outside to find my husband, Sam and Sam’s ride looking for jumper cables. I watched them tear through the truck and the other car for a minute before suggesting (gently) that they try popping the clutch.

Lights came on.

Reminds me of the time we were sitting on the Deschutes River after a rafting trip. We watched a friend bury his little compact truck in the sand. Four big guys came along and tried to push it out. They rocked it back and forth and buried it deeper. I finally walked over and suggested they just grab a corner and lift it out. Oh.

Lights came on.

Anyway: popping the clutch. Sam & I pushed, Don got behind the wheel. And turned uphill.

OK, I just walked away at that point. Had I been behind the wheel, I would have turned downhill and gained some speed. But I’m not the mechanic here.

More on that later.

The truck wouldn’t start. So Sam called a friend who lives around the corner and borrowed jumper cables. I’m sure we have jumper cables, but no one seems to know where they are (I thought they were behind the seat in my truck, but the only items there are: a bottle of steering transmission fluid, a bottle of 5/30 motor oil, and the cable chains). I went inside to babysit the big dogs.

And to get out of the rain. It’s raining again. No use standing around in the rain. What happened to summer?

Apparently, the truck wouldn’t start with jumper cables. So they had to push it back down the hill and up onto our lawn. Yay for living on uneven ground.

Some nice guy driving by got out and helped push it up onto the lawn. Thank you nice guy.

My husband pulled the battery and has it hooked up to the charger in the garage. Sam will come by and try this all over again tomorrow.

So here’s (as Paul Harvey would say) the “rest of the story”:

A long, long time ago I borrowed my girlfriend’s little red truck to go get hay. Her husband was notorious for switching out batteries and not hooking up the cables tightly, so no wonder it wouldn’t start for me. But we gave it a nudge down the hill and I popped the clutch. Don rode with me and we drove the six miles to Redland where we came to a stop sign. And the darn thing died. Click-click-click. We were right across the road from the Redland fire department, so we pushed the truck over into their parking lot and a nice fireman came out to help us.

The first thing he did was look under the hood.

THERE WAS NO BATTERY IN THE TRUCK.

I kid you not. You should have seen all of our faces. NO BATTERY. It started on momentum (I’m sure my mechanic brother will explain that better than I could possibly explain it – I’m not a mechanic: something about electrical currents and the cables resting where they didn’t short out) and it stayed running until I came to that stop sign and one of the loose cables fell and shorted out. Once that happened, it wasn’t going to start again until we put a battery into it.

I had to call my girlfriend and have her bring us the battery. (She still swears that truck ran on prayer. I believed her after that!!)

I promised Sam that some day this will be funny. Not today, but some day.

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