Dan always used to joke that he had never been the same since the clutch of our milk truck had fallen on his head. Andrew and I had a 1950 blue-and-cream International Harvester milk truck, and we needed to drive it from Massachusetts to New Mexico to bail out our friend Michael from hospital. But first the truck needed a new clutch, and Dan and Andrew set out to install it by themselves. Somehow, because Dan was strong and hunky, he got under the truck and heaved the clutch into place. But somehow, either it slipped, or Andrew let go, or Dan himself let go, and this massive chunk of metal hit Dan on the head. If we were 24 and 25 at the time, then Dan was only 22. And ever since, he said for years—joking but perhaps not altogether—he’s been a little off his head.
But our trusty milk truck, with its just-installed clutch, trundled all the way to Albuquerque and back, at its 50 mph maximum speed. It ran amazingly well, considering its age; and as we approached St. Louis, the city of its manufacture, it kicked into some magical new gear and began running like a dream, more smoothly than it had ever done before.