A dark Saturday night in September, 1968. Three of us are on our way to see Jimi Hendrix in Milwaukee. John, for whatever reason, is taking us in his 63 VW bug. We are in the high speed lane of I-94 (god knows why when we are in a Bug!!) about three miles from downtown when the left rear goes WOMP! and we skid to the break down lane next to the barrier. We climb out and the left rear wheel is wedged in the fender. A few moments later a County Sheriff pulls up behind us with his lights on. By then I had found out the castle nut had come off because the cotter pin was either sheared or missing. The nut was still inside the hub cap. "You boys want me to call a wrecker? It'll cost you about $60 to get a tow." Like we had $60 on us! I told the cop "I think I can fix it. We have a monkey wrench and all I need is something to use as a cotter key." The cop took a wire stand off of one of his flares. "Think this would work?" Heck yes!! So while John and Charlie press themselves against the barrier I jack up the VW to take the wheel out of the fender. I'm half under the car prying on the tire to get it loose when I hear the cop on his PA. "I'm going to back up to the top of the hill to slow traffic. If you hear the sound of brakes, run like he**!!" Great. I'm UNDER the VW and I'm supposed to get up and RUN???? Yeah right. I manage to get the tire out and back onto the backing plate with a bit of work. I managed to finally get the nut threaded onto the somewhat buggered up shaft. The monkey wrench just barely fit the nut but I got it as tight as I could. The flare wire fit just fine. It took about 10-15 minutes end to end. And we made it to the concert. Eighth row center. I lost my hearing for three days. And it was worth every minute!!! But I still get the chills when I think of the cop telling me to listen for brakes and run like he** while I'm staring at the bottom of a busted VW two inches above my nose!!!
Illegitimi non carborundum
In memory of Denis Keegan.