Checking the Model T for Gas

When I was kid Grandma Koenn would babysit my four sisters and brother and me sometimes. I can imagine watching six grandkids (of which of course I was the quietest and most well mannered) would at times be a tad trying. During those times Grandma would sit out side on her lawn chair and tell us stories. She never used the word stories but that’s what they were.

My favorite was when Grandma said,

“Let me tell you about the time Stanley (my brother, your great Uncle) borrowed father’s model T Ford. Back in those days you didn’t need a license to drive. To start the car though you had to turn a crank up front. It wasn’t always easy to start. There was no heater and no gas gauge either.

Father told Stanley before he could borrow the car he had to gather the eggs, milk the cows then fill the horse trough with water. Stanley was 17 and really wanted to borrow the car so he did all the chores father asked. Then Father said, “Be sure to check that you have gasoline. The last time you borrowed the car you ran out of gas and I had to take gasoline on the horse 4 miles to get the car home.”

So to check the if the car had gas, Stanley took off the gasoline cap and held a match to the spout to see how much gasoline was in the…. BOOM! The car exploded! Stanley was on fire! He jumped in the horse trough- that luckily was near, and he dove under the water. The gasoline that was on him floated to the top of the water. Stanley would poke his head up every so often, get a glup of air then go underwater again. He did that till all the gasoline was burnt off. He didn’t even get burnt bad. But it was a long, long time before Father ever let him borrow the car again.”

I’m guessing I heard that in 1966.

What stories did your Grandma tell you?

Tony Toledo, May 5, 2016


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