“Hell Of A Smell”
As teenagers we would go to youth rallies with our church youth group. One such rally was in Oregon, Wisconsin. I had kind of a bad name around church as a reckless driver so none of the mothers would let their daughters ride in my car. Becky was one such daughter. She knew Chuck was going to be in my car, and she had a crush on him. She convinced her mom to let her go in my car.
I had just put a set of glass packs on my exhaust system. The sound was superb. I didn’t have time to put the rest of the tailpipe on so the muffler ended about the middle of the car. There was just the right reverberation inside the car to tickle your ear drums. It just so happens, on a ’59 Chevy there is a drain plug in the rear floor located where my glass packs ended.
Chuck rode in front with Lynn and me; Becky and Jennifer were in the back seat with my sister Val. The heat from the exhaust melted the rubber stopper in the floor and started my new angora floorboard on fire. The car filled up with smoke, so I pulled over. I ran over to the river – about 50 feet to our right – with a styrofoam cup from Dog & Suds and got a cup full of water. I ran back to the car, where by now, there was a hole the size of a silver dollar in my angora floor, and all I could see through the smoke was the red glow of the burning rabbit fur. I emptied the cup of water on the glowing angora, and then I put the top down to get rid of the smoke.
Becky had just been to the beauty parlor that afternoon to have her hair done in preparation for her date with Chuck. After another 20 miles or so, we arrived at the youth rally. Becky’s hair was a mess, we all smelled like burnt rabbit fur, and since it was January, we were all bright red. The one only good thing that happened was Becky got to sit with Chuck in church; nobody else would sit by us. We had the whole back corner to ourselves.
The youth pastor closed his sermon by saying cigarettes wouldn’t send you to Hell; they just make you smell like you’ve been there. Then he looked in our direction. The whole congregation turned to see what was causing the putrid smell emanating from our little corner of the church.
We found a large jug and filled it with water so we would have something to douse the fire if it started again on the way home. By the time we got back home we were all nearly asphyxiated by the exhaust. Val tried to cover the hole with her shoe but had to keep changing feet due to the hot exhaust.