early morning task:
mysterious and compelling
engine needs my care
Selemiye, Syria | Winter 1942–1943 | Photo by C. P. Edwards
We performed sixteen tasks, one a day, to keep our ambulances in good working order. Waiting for Dr. Saleman to finish his clinic in the tiny, remote village of Tel el Toot, I cleaned the distributor—I thought. But the engine wouldn’t start, and we were 100 miles from a mechanic. Dr. Saleman correctly diagnosed that I had inadvertently got some dirt between the breaker points. He got some sandpaper from one of the older Arab men (they used it to clean their guns) and cleaned the points. We got home before dark. I learned a couple of lessons!