On my hike down memory lane, I stumbled across this gem……….
UH, WHICH DITCH?
When we lived in Livingstone, Zambia, back in the fifties,
the Sunday afternoon drive along the riverside, was de regular. Everybody and their uncle would climb into the family car and take it for a spin alongside the great Zambezi river.
Those beautiful banks would be where people were picnicking, or fishing and usually young folk canoodling.
We would take the same drive every Sunday, and never get bored with the view. Sometimes we too would park and sit on the grass, watching the rivers quiet flow to its destiny, the magnificent and dangerous Victoria Falls.
One day we were out on our usual afternoon jaunt when Dad took the wrong turning. Realising his mistake, he started to make a three-point turn near a deep drainage ditch.
Now, old Auntie Austin, our
car at that time had a sleek, long body, which was good to look at but challenging to pilot backwards, so we kids used to assist by guiding him,
“Okay Dad, back,” we would all say in chorus, and then,
” Stop. Stop. Too far.”
Kneeling on the backseat and looking out the rear window, we could see better than he could and warned him if he was getting too close to anything.
For some reason on this day, he paid no attention to our directions and kept backing up dangerously close to the deep trench behind him.
” Stop. Stop!”, we yelled, but Dad carried on reversing,
” It’s okay! I can see!” he snapped, somewhat irritated by us.
” No! No! Stop!” We yelled in frantic unison, but he carried on, completely ignoring us.
” I can see! Dammit!” he yelled back at us.
Then, putting his elbow and head out the window, to get a better look, he said, rather angrily,
” Shut up, all of you, I know what I am doing!”
We could see how close he was to the ditch and carried on shouting,
” No Dad, Stop, stop, STOP!”,
Then, Oh well, the inevitable. Auntie Austin’s back wheels fell into the ditch, and she sat there straddling the road and the drain, unable to gain traction, with her wheels spinning in the air.
At this point, my darling dad looked back at us, and feeling a little stupid, feigned temporary deafness,
He asked sheepishly, as though he had not quite heard our frantic warnings.
Auntie Austin was not amused. It was a most undignified position to be in after all. Her engine roared angrily as Dad put his foot flat on the accelerator, but there was no way she could move.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before someone came around the bend and with their help, we were able to rock the old girl off her perch and back on the road.
I don’t think Auntie Austin ever forgot the embarrassment she suffered at our hands that day. Maybe she got her payback by stalling and ‘fainting’ like some overwrought maiden, on steep inclines when she would suddenly gasp and come to a fluttering standstill.
We would then have to climb out to push her, blow into her exhaust pipe to propel petrol through her innards, to the carburettor or somesuch organ in her ageing body.
Thinking back on the day we so humiliated her, I suppose by Dad ignoring our warnings, and he was just displaying another example of that particularly annoying male syndrome, hey?