Uncle Chuck Stories – “You have to tap it to get it in”

Posted: September 8, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized

I have a crazy uncle just like everyone should.  My uncle Chuck is now up there in age and had no choice but to slow down.  Somehow, I’m thinking if he had a choice he’d be still doing his thing.  One of my favorite Uncle Chuck stories was when I was a late teen with raging hormones.  I had brought a Rambler Rebel car for 500 bucks.  The car ran extremely well.  The only thing wrong with it was that it had bad brakes.  Bad brakes and a teenage driver is a bad combination.  You may note that you never heard of the Rambler car brand or the Rebel for that matter.   This was an old car even back in the 90’s.  It was a ’68 so finding parts for it was difficult.  The entire brake systems needed to be replaced.  I had tracked down most of the parts to the brakes except for the rear caliber on the passenger side.  You might wonder what this has to do with my uncle and why I remember such minor detail from 20 years ago.

Well my Uncle Chuck could fix anything, boilers, electrical panels and cars for example.  He was especially good at brake systems.  Brakes were his “hustle.”  He used to say $20.00 per wheel to do brake pads and rotors.  I actually learned how to do brakes from watching him.  But like most people my Uncle Chuck was only good at fixing things when he’s sober.  He wasn’t a very good drunk mechanic.  This brings me back to my Rebel.

I had scoured junk yards and classic car parts stores looking for this stupid caliper.  I finally found another Rebel (evidently it wasn’t a very popular car) in a junk yard that had a good caliper.  The timing was perfect.  I had a hot date (I use the term loosely) with a girl I met a few days earlier.  I was having trouble putting the caliper on and walked away from the car.  While I had stepped away my uncle walked up and looked at what I was doing.  I looked over with a cautious eye because my uncle had a little more than a “one and one” (a wine and a beer).

He said, “Nephew”.  Now when my uncle says “Nephew” in the way that he says “Nephew” after having a few, I know I’m about to have an Uncle Chuck Story moment, some of which I’d never share online.  Uncle Chuck yells “You have to tap it to get it in.”  I’m yelling, “NO!!!!”  I’ve seen my uncle Chuck “tap” things before and it usually meant something was going to break.  He picks up the hammer and does that old close one eye and attempt to line the hammer up drunk thing people who have had too much to drink do.  I start running back to the car.  This is all happening in that Bionic Man slow motion effect.  Before I can get back to the car my uncle has tapped the caliper and yelp, I don’t have to tell you the rest.

I missed my hot date and I look back and thank God (and my uncle) that I did.  I had no business going on a “date” with this girl.  I didn’t feel this way back then but now I’m OK.

  1. Classic! I remember this!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s