Monday, July 10, 2017

Empty Coffee Can

Empty Coffee Can

My grandfather's foundry produced high temperature engines for the auto industry.  The hey day was pre World War Two, when the family had one car in the driveway and one in the garage.

The oldest of his three sons was fifteen at the time, when he decided to disassemble one of his fathers auto engines.  The engine was in the garage, inside the family car.  It was Saturday and Uncle Tom came in for lunch covered with grease asking for a towel and an empty coffee can. He was chased back outside by his sisters, who reported to their mother what Tom was doing in the garage.  My grandmother, who was always called Mum, although her name was Mary McDonald, was shocked when she saw the car engine in pieces.

She asked Tom what on earth he was up to.  There was nothing wrong with the car.  He said he was curious, that was all.  Mum threatened him he'd better put the engine back together before his father returned for dinner.

To his credit, his father never knew the engine had been taken apart and reassembled.  It ran the same as always. 

One day his father noticed an old coffee can filled with small engine parts.  No one seemed to know anything about the spare parts.

There were nineteen pieces of metal in the can and the car seemed to run perfectly well without them.





Paris 2017 #79

Sandy Kinnee

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