In reply, he moved his jaw in such a way that his false teeth moved free and jutted from his mouth. “Wow!” we cried, “How did you do that?”
“Can’t you do it?” he asked. We were then quiet for a very long time, contorting our faces, attempting to get our teeth to jump up like his did.
Some years later, now wise to false teeth, we were riding in Uncle Esty’s car from the farm toward Henrietta, late at night. As we drove along the flat, a car was coming distantly, when suddenly, on his instruments, a little green light went off. “What’s that?” my cousin Bob asked, pointing to the little light. Uncle Esty was silent for a moment as we passed the other car.
“That light?” he said, “That means there’s a cow in the road.” And just then, the little green light went on again! Knowing nothing of high-beam indicators, we spent the rest of the journey peering into the darkness, trying to see the cow in the road.
Adrienne tells a story of driving through hilly country one late afternoon, her girls watching the cows wandering narrow paths on the hills. “How do they do that?” they asked.
“It’s simple,” their father told them, “Cows that live on hills have legs on one side shorter than on the other.”
“Really?” asked the girls.
“Sure,” he said. “If they were the same length, the cows would tip over.” This made sense to the girls.
This willful misleading of innocent children is certainly fun,
but it has to end somewhere. I tried it on Lori, then my wife, when we’d just bought the yellow MGB. With new tires from the shop, I was showing her how to drive the stick shift, and she caught on right away.
“Now the one thing you need to remember,” I told her, “is that on a sports car you need to equalize the left and right turns. For example, if you’re driving and you have to make a lot of right turns, then you want to make some left turns too.”
She stared at me in consternation. I continued.
“That helps to keep the tires from wearing unevenly,” I said.
She believed it for a minute.
Well, nearly a minute.