14 October 2006

Coasting in Neutral

An article in the morning paper mentioned "coasting in neutral" and it immediately brought back a memory.

It was about 1941 when Uncle Henry, my brother Fred and I headed down to Elmira for the airplane and glider show on Harris Hill. Uncle Henry had told our parents that we would camp out in a tent overnight. My mother had given Fred and me a dollar each to spend, so we were in seventh heaven.

At the show, glider rides cost two dollars; I don't remember the negotiations, but Fred wound up with my dollar and the glider ride.

That evening, we drove down the road a little ways, and Uncle Henry set up the tent. Imagine our surprise to find that he wasn't going to stay with us, but would be in a motel in Elmira! Oh well, at least he left us his Benjamin pellet air pistol for protection against whatever evil things our minds could conjure up, which were substantial. So we spent most of the evening pumping up the pistol and shooting at anything that rustled in the leaves. (We`decided later that we had been shooting at worms.)

The next morning, Uncle Henry showed up, packed up the tent and took us to breakfast.

The way home took us on route 15 along Hemlock Lake, where the road had a great long hill to descend. That's where Uncle Henry decided to see how far the car could go just coasting down the hill. Of course, in those days there wasn't much traffic, so off we went, with the engine turned of and the gear shift in neutral. As we coasted down the hill, Fred and I took turns shooting the Benjamin pellet air pistol out the window at various targets along the way, including at least one large, black crow (we missed). At the bottom of the hill, as the car slowed to a crawl, Uncle Henry announced the mileage, started up the engine and off to home we went.

Quite an adventure for two pre-teenagers.


Anonymous said...

What a great story! I can't believe Uncle Henry stayed in a hotel! LOL

Life 101 said...

Hey Bob,
I loved this story. Did Fred enjoy the glider ride? I've never had a chance to ride one but it looks like it would be a hoot.

Granpappy said...

He said it was great and went on to take a lesson in a Piper Cub a few years later. I've restricted my flying to commercial airlines.