George Smith - Hey Jake, give me a ‘brake’ on stopping
Jul 21, 2010 | 2426 views |  2 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WEDNESDAY’S LIST ... of beans ’n’ greens ’n’ other things: THE JAKE BRAKE: If you were with me for a Greens ’n’ Beans from Indiana recently, let me replay a highway sign I’d never seen before:

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 ...

* * *
IF YOU like old-fashioned gospel singing, you might want to show up at the Providence Baptist Church in Talladega County Friday evening.

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.

* * *
A FRIEND of mine says “Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is a husband.”
* * *
FROM THE rear-view mirror ... as back in Bloomington, Ind.

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?

* * *
BIRTHDAYS: July 13 – Katy Cox, Faye Hunter, and James McCarty; July 14 – Julia Burton, Betty Brown, Doug Spoon, Nelda Snider and Anna Elders; July 16 – Stacey Watson; July 18 – Bo Pearson; July 21 – Mary Alice Carden; July 22 – Reagan Smith and Shelian Tolbert; July 24 – John Woodard.

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:

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