Caught Slipping Around

Hit and miss engine

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120 Murphy Lane Ringgold, Georgia 30736

This story starts about six years ago. I was walking into Prater's Mill in Dalton, Georgia, when I heard the pop and crack of a hit and miss engine. So, I walked toward the sound and when I got there, I asked the men standing around, 'What is this?' and they said, 'It's a hit and miss engine.' I turned to my wife and said, 'I've got to have one of these.'

I started beating the bushes for an engine. My wife asked, 'What are you going to do with one of those things?' and I said, 'Listen to it pop and crack.' She said, 'You want to give five or six hundred dollars for something to listen to?' I said, 'Ya!' My wife said, 'You're crazy!'

But I kept looking and after about five years I found a 2 HP Witte that a man had rebuilt, but not cranked yet. It was out of time and had no gas tank. So, I got into my 'rat hole' and bought it for $450. I took it to a friend of mine, Jimmy Snyder, to help me get it started. Then I took it home and put it in my barn and told my daughter not to say anything to her mama right now, we would tell her later. I knew that she would want to know where I got the money to buy the engine, and you men know if you let your wife know that you have a 'rat hole' that will be the end of that!

My daughter and I would get it out when my wife was gone and listen to the engine pop and crack.

One weekend there was an engine show about 40 miles from our town of Ringgold, Georgia. But, I didn't know just exactly where it was. I knew that a friend of mine, Mr. Nuckles had family there and would know where it was. I went to his house the day before the show and asked him where it was and got directions. It just so happened he was going to visit his family there the next day. Next morning my wife, daughter and I went to the engine show and what do you think I found on the first roll? A 2 HP Witte just like mine and my daughter's!

My daughter looked at the Witte and said to me, 'Look, Daddy!' and I said right quick, 'Shh, Punkin!' so as not to give away our secret. (That's what I call my daughter, 'Punkin.') So, my wife, daughter and I walked on around the show looking at all the engines, pumps and different things, and we were standing, looking at a man's engines when I heard a voice over my shoulder say, 'Hey, boy, what are you doing?' I turned around and said, 'Hey, Mr. Nuckles, how is it going?' He said, 'Just fine.' And then he said those magic words that got me caught. 'Is that like YOUR engine?' and I said, 'No, not exactly.' After chewing the fat for a few minutes, Mr. Nuckles said, 'Well, I think I'll be going. I'll see you later' and I said, 'Okay, Mr. Nuckles, have a good one.' Then my wife turned to me and said, 'Like YOUR engine?' and I said, 'Ya!' then we started walking and looking again and my daughter said to me, 'Daddy, can I show Mama what our engine looks like now?' I said, 'Yeah, you can show her now, Punkin!'