In 1966, while I [Steve] was in Yarinacocha, Peru, and the Kindberg parents were out in the tribal area, I utilized their high-class motor-scooter (with permission) to get back and forth from the Summer Institute of Linguistics base-camp to the nearby town. I was aware that dogs did not like the motorized vehicles passing on the road and would nip at the heels or legs of foreign cyclists. Plus, at the medical clinic, we’d been warned about an increasingly rabid population among the fauna.
On a pleasant afternoon, as I passed the Albert Schweitzer Clinic on this same road, yours truly was approached by what seemed to be an insulted mongrel; he started at my left leg. Kicking him away only enraged the beast, but kicking seemed to be my best defense against the supposed bearer of rabies. He started to win the battle and so I veered right, just as a small bridge loomed to the left, traversing a creek in the jungle.
With great aplomb and no bridge under its wheels, the man/machine unit flew over this waterway. The prized Heinkel-two-wheel-wonder landed just below the brink of the distant shoreline. The bad news was that its front axle and fork bent, squashing the wheels into the rest of the body. The pinky of the driver’s right hand got “broke.” The good news: the canine stood smiling on the proximal side, wagging his tail as he put another victory scratch in the mud beside the takeoff point.
No more rolling or even limping for the German red metal mass until an airplane mechanic at the JAARS hanger worked to give it a new, though dented, life. As Lee and Will got off the float plane coming in from their tribal stay, each Kindberg kid was sworn not to mention the flight of the Red Baron and the resulting modification of its function and appearance.
But . . . wouldn’t you guess, even before Will stepped from the Piper Cub’s pontoon onto the dock, little Dougie proudly broadcast that “Uncle Steve wrecked Daddy’s Heinkel.” Surprised, but gracious, Will received the news flash and waited a week or two until the vehicle resumed its function.
As for the victorious dog, he still walks with his head high, but no foaming at the mouth. Check one for the animal world.
story told by Steve via email on October 11, 2016; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)
Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)
- What other Uncle Steve stories can you generate: Virginia? Kathy? Eric? Bruce?
- Or how about stories from France: Sandy? Debby?
- DD? Jimmy? Gordy?