My local memories: dad and the Bay Terrace rat - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views


Distracted driving has become a modern hazard with the rise of mobile phones, but back in the day when most didn’t even have landlines, there were other distractions. Vehicles were not as well sealed as today, and brake and clutch pedals went through holes in the floor. These holes were covered by material that would deteriorate leaving gaps through which creatures could enter. I recall driving one night and putting my bare foot on the brake only to be bitten by a spider on the pedal. The sting was painful and, in the dark, I could not see the cause but managed to maintain control of the vehicle.

My father (Arnold) had a shop in partnership with his two brothers. One day Dad was driving the shop’s delivery truck down Bay Terrace, the main street of Wynnum, when a rat ran through one of the gaps in the floor and up Dad’s trouser leg. He let go of the steering wheel to put his hands on his leg to prevent the rat scurrying further up and the truck veered to one side. With no power steering in those days, he needed to put both hands on the wheel to correct the direction, but the rat ran further up his leg. Each time he took his hands off his leg, the rat would travel further towards where no one wants a rat to be. He proceeded up Bay Terrace moving his hands from his leg to the steering wheel and back to his leg, veering from one side of the street to the other. Eventually the truck veered into a service station at the corner of Berrima Street, over the repair hoist that was luckily in the down position and stopped against the brick wall.

These days, if my mobile phone rings while I’m driving, I remind myself that it’s not a rat crawling up my leg and can wait until later.

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