Can You Say 'stuck On A Stump' 10 Times Fast?
There was the time, when I was still on probation, that I encountered a situation that could have ended my career. I was doing a neighborhood of 'out the door' delivery. No sidewalks, just dirt shoulders where you drove right up to the box to service it.
This one delivery in particular ALWAYS had 2 or 3 cars parked 'nose in' right in front of the box. They had been parked there so long, that grass was actually growing over a foot high underneath them. Consequently, I'd have to park and dismount in order to service the box.
This one particularly light volume day, I was just breezing through my route, thinking 'how lucky I am'. As I approached that delivery, I could not believe my eyes!!! There was NO CARS IN MY WAY!!! Yay!!! I was so jazzed, that as I was breezing up to the box to deliver it, I barely even noticed the little 'clunk, clunk' noise (more about that later) underneath my vehicle. I threw it into neutral, and picked up the mail, fingered it, and made the delivery. This was surely a day that I would remember ... and if I was lucky, maybe they even SOLD the old cars!!!
Maybe then, this would be the way I'd deliver that box from now on!!! Life was so good!!! After making the momentous delivery, it was time to go on to the next one ... I signaled left, looked over my left shoulder for traffic, and threw my vehicle into drive.......... nothing ..... I heard the engine rev, so I knew it was running. I checked it to make sure I was now in 'drive', and it was. Oh shoot!!! Something was wrong!!! I had to get this mail delivered, or else!!! I was on probation!!! I had a new baby to support all on my own!!! I made the quick decision to re-configure the remainder of the mail (just that street, and one more), and start walking to deliver. There was a gas station with a pay phone at the end of the block, so I would deliver up to there, make the call to my boss so he could get maintenance out to repair me, and then walk the next street. I'd be done before they got my jeep fixed!!! What a great plan ... Surely the boss would admire my ability to improvise!!!
Well ... things changed when I got out of my vehicle. The step out seemed to be a lot further down than usual. What the heck was going on here??? Then out of the corner of my eye ... I saw something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. My vehicle was floating above ground!!! It was a physical impossibility!!! Maybe I'd fallen and hit my head!!! I looked around for someone, so I could at least ask them if they were seeing the same thing, but no one was there. Then suddenly, a man appeared as if out of nowhere (in reality, he came out of the house). He was grinning, and chuckling. He pointed under my vehicle, and laughingly said, "you got her high centered!!!". I asked 'huh?" He said "lookie there", pointing underneath. I looked under the jeep, and my heart jumped into my throat!!! All four wheels were off the ground!!! And right there smack in themiddle, was a tree stump!!! (This is where I'll say more about that little 'clunk, clunk' noise I'd barely heard as I was driving up).
Aparently ... that is the sound a stump makes when it takes on the responsibility of holding a 1/4 ton in mid air. NOW I JUST KNEW my job was in dire peril. I thanked the man for his expertise, handed him his mail, locked my vehicle, and proceeded to deliver the rest of that block on foot. All the while, rehearsing what I was going to say to Sal (my boss).
By the time I got to the pay phone, I'd decided on using humor to convey my perilous situation to the boss. When he answered the phone, I said "this is Silver ... can you say 'stuck on a stump' ten times fast?" He paused, and asked me "huh?" I repeated myself, "Can you say 'stuck on a stump' ten times fast?" There was a deafening silence ... he started to speak very slowly, saying “Oh my God Silver ... please tell me it’s not true”… (or something like that). I then explained my predicament, as best as I could. Hurriedly, he told me to keep delivering on foot, and he'd be right out. When I got back to my vehicle (all my mail was delivered now), he was literally trying to 'pry' my jeep off of the stump with a very long 4" x 4". Of course it snapped in two, as I walked up. (Supervisors were stupid back then also). Just then ... my luck turned. The most beautiful vision was appearing right before my eyes!!! It was a tow truck!!! Sal was smiling, and waving at the driver!!! Before I could say 'thank you Lord', he was out of the truck, and looping cables around my vehicle. That being done, he flipped a switch and the sound of a motor filled the air. He was actually 'winching' my jeep. He picked it up, suspending it above the stump. Then he flipped another switch, and it began to move to the side. When it was clear of the stump, he gently set it back down on the ground. My boss gave me a little wink, and said "I don't see any damage ... We can keep this to ourselves".
The tow driver was a friend of his from Tallywacker Towing', and did not charge him a dime. I drove back in to the station, cleaned up my nixies, and went home like nothing had happened. The next day, as I approached that fateful delivery ... I was actually RELIEVED to see the cars parked back where they belonged. Safely in front of the mail box. If it wasn't for that nice Supervisor, I just know I would have been fired. I owe my entire career to him. He eventually went back to carrying, and now works in another state the last I heard. If you are out there Sal ... thank you brother.
AUTHOR NAME: Silver Farr
AUTHOR CITY, STATE: California City, CA