THREE ON THE FLOOR


My brother and I had a '34 Ford --
As kids do, we sometimes over-revved it,

If you weren't too careful, when that stunt was pulled,
You'd find yourself in first gear kind o' permanent,

The gearshift would disengage from the shifting forks
And leave the shifter sort o' flopping about,

I'd have to disassemble the pesky thing
And spend a half-hour sorting it out,

Once, I lost patience as young folks do --
Pulled too hard on the thing when it happened,

That gearbox, with finality, went into two gears --
Left a ruined transmission and spirits dampened,

As we sometimes did, I remembered having seen
An old Ford, upside-down about a mile

Down the road leading to my birthplace -- it might
Have a three-speed that would hold us for a while,

Sure enough, when we checked it, that inverted old car
Had a gearbox like that in our jitney,

We removed it from the bottom of that hulk on the road
And installed it with some tools from J. C. Whitney,

With no hoist to pull the engine, we had to remove
The rear end -- I bear scars to this day,

When it all was together, I let Vincent Rice drive --
He burned rubber as he laughed and sped away.

by D. Edgar Murray 02/27/2000.