No Engine Brake
From my teen-age years of driving “stick-shift” autos that belonged to my dad and a couple of uncles, I told you that “Engine Brake” referred to “gearing down” the engine to slow your speed.
It was a bit of fun for us.
But the Indiana sign had nothing to do with straight-shift Fords.
An old friend (and a long-time caller to local talk shows), John Johnson, sent me the following e-mail:
“The sign you saw ... is referring to the ‘Jake Brake’ on heavy trucks and it’s not referring to passenger vehicles. It’s telling truckers NOT to turn on their Jake Brakes because of the noise they create ... when you see a semi or a dump truck slowing and you hear a loud BLAT-BLAT-BLAT,’ that’s his ‘Jake Brake.’
“It’s only supposed to be used when going down long hills ... it’s illegal to use a Jake Brake in most cities ...”
So there ... and John just happens to have a Class A CDL license, which has to do with driving big rigs.
John is from “Up Nawth” and had a knack for getting under “our” skins when he hit the call-in shows. Thing is, he was always prepared on whatever the subject.
He’s also a pretty good guy, just about normal. I realized that off one line in his e-mail:
“My granddaughter turns one on July 21 (today). We’re having a blast with her.”
Another good friend, Shelton Phillips, chimed in on the Jake Brake, also, with:
“If you are driving, all you have to do is flip a switch and let off on the accelerator and it engages. This is used on big rigs and if you have ever been beside one when he is slowing down and using a Jake Brake, then you know how loud it is.”
Thanks, guys ... and isn’t a continuing education just wonderful ...
The Hayes Family from Boone, N.C., will be in concert and it’s a free show.
To get there, get off I-20 at exit 168 and head south on Alabama 77. Look for County Road 377 (about four miles), hang a left and the church will be like 4.5 miles ... on your left.
Hoagy Carmichael is from Bloomington and composed one of the all-time standards, “Stardust,” at The Gables, a bar on the edge of the Indiana University campus.
Rock legend John Mellencamp was born in Seymour, Ind., and now calls Bloomington home.
Like I said, educational, huh?
A real biggie, for me and the blonde, is Barry Stephen Smith, July 24 ... Saturday. Main thing is that as far as we know, son and heir has never embarrassed the family. Happy Birthday, “kid.”
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org