If you’re an ordinary motorist who needed a flat changed or a battery jumped, the call to AAA for help probably was answered by a fellow in a specially outfitted car, or a tow truck. If you’re an exhibitor at an art show and the van lets you down coming or going, you tell the AAA operator to send a Jerr-Dan because your vehicle weighs eight or nine thousand pounds, is extended, and is going nowhere on the end of a hook.
Over the weekend Emily helped Linda at the Worthington Art Festival, a suburb north of Columbus, Ohio. On the way to the motel after setting up Linda realized her van was not shifting properly. She left it at the motel for the weekend, and she and Emily hitched to the show with fellow exhibitors. She drove in to the show on Sunday, they packed up Sunday night, and Linda called Triple A. She asked them to be there at seven; they arrived about ten.
The driver put her van on the Jerr-Dan and drove the two of them two hundred miles back to Columbiana. He put them down at Linda’s mechanic’s garage, they hitched another ride to her house at two a.m., and all ended well with a new transmission line.
It was Emily’s first Jerr-Dan adventure, and she asked me about some of my more memorable Jerr-Dan moments. In truth, I only came home on a Jerr-Dan once, but did have a ride on a Jerr-Dan to a garage that replaced my radiator on the way to a show.
I have seen exhibitors arrive at a show on a Jerr-Dan, unload their van and send it on to a garage for repairs while they put on their show. That probably sums up the fortitude of every exhibitor I know. The show always goes on.
Ann and I had a Jerr-Dan angel pull up behind us, on Interstate 84 in the Catskills in New York State. We were leaving the New Paltz spring show some Memorial Day Monday. It was still very light out. I was passing a semi on a two lane section when there was an explosion and a tire blew at seventy miles an hour. The noise confused Ann, but I knew, and quit passing the truck and got to the berm when the truck was clear. “Blew a tire,” I told her, and got out to assess the damage.
I was on the phone with AAA shortly, and the operator told me it would be several hours; we were in a very isolated piece of upstate New York just for starters, and it was the holiday weekend. Just then a Jerr-Dan pulled in behind us. “Never mind,” I told the operator. “He’s here already.”
An elderly fellow climbed down, we unloaded the van to the extent of accessing the spare. He changed the tire, we reloaded the van and I asked him how much I owed him. “Nothing, m’am,” he assured me. He was retired and spent his spare time cruising the interstate in his Jerr-Dan, looking out for trouble to fix.
Ann came round the back with a tin of her oatmeal cookies and insisted he take a couple. He did, ate one, reached back in the can for a couple more, and then said, “Now, I’m going to follow you girls to the next exit and I want you to pull into the service station there. That spare tire is low; I’ll fill it up and check all your tires and send you along. I’ll need to charge you a couple more cookies.”