I had a publishing client meet in mid-November, the week before Thanksgiving, and the Daughter also had a necessary meeting with her agency on the same day and time, Since it was more professional-appearing for her to appear, unencumbered with infant offspring for that meet, I had Wee Jamie with me, in the back of my car … that is, the venerable 1990 Accura Legend; top of the line luxury, in the day when it was new. I am the second owner of that car, and regret to report that I have let it go sadly downhill, condition-wise. It doesn’t help that the leather seats have gotten crusty and dried-out, the radio (an original unit) is frelled, the AC unit needs a fresh injection of freon, the moon roof leaks in a heavy rain, and that the left-hand running light was thought impossible to replace since an inconsiderate elderly driver in a humongous SUV cut in front of me two years ago and bashed out that unit with the edge of his wheel-chair hoist. I shouldn’t cast aspersions on the abilities of that guilty party, based on advanced age, since (from the evidence of his insurance policy) he was the same age as your correspondent.

So, my personal car, the aged Accura Legend lives in the garage, safe from rainy downpours, which would send a shower of water down the back of my neck … and it’s the secondary car, basically, with the minimum insurance on it, which I now regret. It drives like a dream, otherwise – accelerates like a rocket, turns on a dime with three cents change, and does almost 300 miles on a full tank of gas. Our occasional car, for long-distance driving as it has cruise control and excellent gas mileage, in fair weather … anyway.

The meeting with the client in a mutually acceptable coffee shop went well. All and sundry admired Wee Jamie for his charm, baby appeal and good behavior. He was angelic during the whole process; we are raising him up in the ways of the craft! The client has decided to go ahead with it all … and then, when I went with the infant spawn of our publishing dynasty to wend our way home, the Accura wouldn’t start. Embarrassing and distressful, especially as it was very warm, even in the shade. But Triple A came to our rescue in the coffee shop parking lot, and my daughter came as soon as she was finished with her meeting, and scooped the infant into her own car, since he was sweating and unhappy. The Accura was restarted – and no one, not even our favored garage has any notion of why it failed to start. The battery was in good condition and well-charged up, according to the favored garage, where we eventually limped the Accura. Tis a mystery.

But it was on the way between the coffee-shop parking lot and our favored garage that disaster struck – and I do not exaggerate. It really struck; five minutes along the Wurzbach Parkway at a modest 55 miles per hour, the hood of the Accura suddenly popped loose, flung up and bashed against the windshield with a ghastly crunching sound. I was instantly blinded looking forward, but fortunately traffic along the parkway was light. It would have been a different experience if this had happened along the 1604, which has generous grass shoulders, but traffic on it was very heavy at that time of late afternoon. I still had a view out to either side, and through the rear-view mirror, so I managed to brake, find the switch for the hazards (I was saying to myself – find the hazard switch, find the hazard switch until I did find it), and pull over to the narrow shoulder, guided by the barrier along the edge of the parkway without any further excitement.

I got out and managed to pull down the hood – deeply dented where it hit the roof edge and noticed that the two hinged hood supports were entirely broken off from where they attached within the engine compartment. Of course, the hood wouldn’t latch again. It was a mystery how it even managed to come unlatched at all. We were certain that the Triple A mechanic had closed it fast, and the latch itself was stiff and unwieldy – a real bear to open in the first place.

Hazards blinking, I drove at a slow crawl down the first exit, West Avenue, watching the hood bounce with every move, looking for a place to pull in. Found the parking lot of the Hobby Lobby at West and Bitters – didn’t dare stop the engine, lest I be stranded again. Called my daughter and left a message, since she was driving and couldn’t pick up. There were bungee cords in the emergency kit in the trunk, so I secured the hood as best as I could with them, answered my daughter’s rather frantic phone call as to what had happened … and then limped all across the remainder of town to the favored garage, my heart in my mouth every time the hood bounced up the least bit against the bungee cord. Weirdly, at no time did the bungee cord and the severely dented hood attract the attention of the police department, even though I passed one patrol car and a motorcycle officer.

Our favored garage had the Accura for a day and couldn’t find any reason for the inability to start. The body work is not their cuppa, so the next day we took the Accura to the auto body and paint expert, a few blocks away, and left the Accura there, pending the leisure of the staff and owner. I got a call this week, with an estimate on repairs and the happy information that they were able to locate a replacement hood, and the side light smashed in the accident two years ago, which had eluded our best efforts at the time. Good thing that I have three clients about to start paying projects in the new year, and an ongoing project which will also pay, as I will have to fund the repair bill out of pocket. And that was my startling experience, which if I am fortunate, will be the last for a good long time.


  1. Wow! I’m glad all is well. Truly a frightening experience.

    • Yep – quite startling. My daughter says that she had a bad feeling all day about my driving over to the coffee shop with Wee Jamie, and she just couldn’t shake it.
      Me, I’m more concerned now with the projects I have to complete in order to pay for the repairs so that we can have two cars again.