The Real Agent
This day was special. The problem of buying an automobile had ripened like the early oats. Papa wanted to keep our driving team, old Pearl and Ruby as our means of transportation. Pa said, “The team ate as much oats and hay if idle. Why waste money on a car?” And good sweet gasoline was 4 cents a gallon. Besides “Papa would never learn to drive the automobile.
Harry, the oldest child, put his hat slightly back on his head, rolled up his shirt sleeves and showed signs of great interest in this automobile story. He had often made decisions for the family before about such things as buying a washing machine. Yes, the machine must wash a heavy horse blanket, buckles and all, without a whimper as the heavy thick wool squeezed itself through the wringer after killing the motor a half dozen times. Harry was well prepare for a wise choice in most things, but a choice of automobiles took a reliable man who had studied motors and cars from a weekly paper called The Kansas City Star.
The salesman, Leo Donovan, arrived, with the top up, and the car polished like a mirror, proclaiming in true Irish style, “It is the neatest and strongest car that can be found in these parts.” After a heavy hand shake with the whole family, the invitation to inspect the car was given with gestures of a true polished salesman. He and Pa had reminisced their knowledge of the whole territory as Harry made a thorough inspection of this new car.
“We will buy the car,” said Harry, “if it will go over the Sheehan Hills without any trouble.”
Little did Leo, the agent, know about the Sheehan Hills. He soon found that a car full of people was a real problem at the foot of these steep hills, because the hills had not been graded, or driven over for 20 years. Sticks, rocks, trees and ditches were so arranged that the riders seldom settled in their seats before the car hopped over other rocks and ditches. And with the steep angle of the hill, they moved as if on a roller coaster in speed and thrills.
Leo felt a failure pang after passing the first hill, but the rest must be mastered or no sale. So the car was put in low gear, the clutch was released, the driver clung to the wheel as the car snorted, plunged and scratched up the last hill. Everyone knew the car was built for service if nothing else.
“Are there any more roads we could travel over?”
Harry smiled with the assurance that the trial was sufficient. Any car that could go up there could go anywhere.