Little Red Flying Hood

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Car hood flies off and nearly causes accident.

Submitted: April 24, 2007

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Submitted: April 24, 2007



My husband Tom, my three-year-old daughter, Ariana, and I used to live on Highway 35 near Carmack, Mississippi. I had a little Plymouth Horizon for awhile. It was an automatic. Well, after Tom and I had the car for a couple of years, it began to have a problem with the freeze plugs popping out. Consequently, the engine had a tendency to overheat. We were always looking under the hood of the car, and my guess is that the hinges began to wear out.

One day, I packed up Ariana and took her with me to nearby Kosciusko to have the oil changed. Naturally, the car was running a little hot, so the mechanic put water in the radiator before he lowered the hood. Soon, Ariana and I were headed back toward Carmack.

About halfway home, the left hinge that held the hood in place disintegrated. I instinctively applied the brakes very slowly as the hood flew up in front of the windshield. There was no place safe to pull over, so all I could do was drive for awhile. The hood held for just a minute by the right hinge. Then IT fell apart! I tried to keep my composure as Ariana had a conniption in her baby seat. She was TERRIFIED! She thought that we were going to crash! So did I.

I checked my rear view mirror as my hood flew over the top of the little Plymouth. A white van was following me about twenty feet back. I prayed that the hood wouldn’t hit its windshield and cause an accident. Fortunately, my prayers were answered. The driver of the van slowed just in time to let the hood of my car slide down a steep ravine.

"What are we gonna do?" Ariana screamed.

I thought for a minute. In this situation, it was important that I keep a cool head. There was a bar just up the street on the right side of the road. I’d have to park the car there and phone Tom at the house. Fortunately, Tom had a little Datsun pickup that he could use to come over and assess the situation.

I looked somewhat out-of-place carrying a three-year-old girl into the dimly lit bar. Men were lined up on stoods, drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages. The bartender was a lady, and a very nice one at that.

Ariana was still crying. I tried to calm her down as I explained to the bartender what had happened. I asked if I could call my husband. No one is more willing to help a person in trouble than a Southerner. She graciously handed me the phone and I dialed the number with trembling fingers.

Tom picked up. He was surprised at what had happened and shocked that no one had been hurt! He said that he’d be right down.

Ariana and I waited inside the bar until Tom arrived in the little pickup. We backtracked to the approximate spot where the hood had flown down the ravine. Getting out on the shoulder of the road, we peered down the steep hill. WAAAAAAAAY down at the bottom, we saw the dark red tint of the runaway hood.

Tom thought for a moment and went over to the back of the pickup. He retrieved a long rope and a big steel hook. Then he began to tie them together. He was going fishing!

He tied one end of the rope around his waist and cast the hook down into the ravine to try to grab the hood. He knew it was going to be a long shot, but one way or the other, we HAD to get the hood back to put on the Plymouth! He fished and missed for about twenty minutes, but he never gave up.

Finally, after casting the hook down for the millionth time, it caught on the front edge of the hood! Inch by inch, Tom SLOWLY pulled the hood up the side of the ravine. A few times, it looked as though it was going to fall off the hook and we’d have to start all over again, but after working patiently with his prize catch for about fifteen more minutes, he pulled it up over the ravine.

The hood was scratched up from sliding down against all the limbs and rocks lining the ravine. At least it was in one piece.

Tom put the hood of my Plymouth into the pickup bed of his Datsun and tied it down with bungee cords. That hood wasn’t going ANYWHERE this time!

A few days later, the hood was reinstalled on the Plymouth Horizon. It was held down with brand new, strong hinges so that my hood would never fly off again.

As luck would have it, a few months after we replaced the hood, the freeze plugs started giving us trouble again and we had to retire the car completely. Oh, well. If I didn’t have BAD luck, I’d have no luck at ALL!

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