June 2, 2010



I’ve always admired people who fix things. Or build things. People who can open a package at Christmas, grab a screwdriver and a wrench, and put together a monster truck or a bicycle.
A man that can look at a pile of lumber and build a house, a barn, a deck, or even a step up to the entryway, is a genius in my book.
And an engine mechanic. That is beyond genius. If I have a car or pickup or tractor that quits, I can open the hood, then stand there and stare. And wonder how did they get all that stuff under there and what does it all do? I check the oil and wiggle the battery cables. That’s it. Done.
Now, if a horse limps, I can be of some assistance. Not a lot, mind you. But some. I can see if there is a rock in his foot. Or if he’s got a tender spot. I might guess at a pulled muscle, or an abscess, or a bad nail in a shoe. I used to nail a shoe on a horse once in awhile, but, as I explained a couple weeks ago, I got a little wasty around the middle. That makes shoeing a horse much worse than putting your socks on or tying your shoes.
And as Clayton once said, there are three things that are worth paying for…Air conditioning, HBO, and horse shoeing.
But, back to mechanics. Last week I told you about the tow truck driver. Wonderful young lady. And the mechanic, whose shop looked like something out of “Deliverance,” was great. Hauled me to a motel, ordered the part, drove sixty miles to pick the part up, replaced an injector line, picked me up at the motel in the morning, and handed me a bill for ninety-eight dollars! Hadn’t been for “Deliverance,” I may have kissed him.
Now, Will’s trip to Houston was a bit different. About a month earlier.
He’s rolling down I-45. Between Houston and Dallas. When, KABANG! He feels a tremendous jerk and the trailer, heavily loaded, sways from side to side. Looking in his mirror, he sees a tire, rim, and hub go bounding down through the median and through the oncoming traffic. It clears the traffic and heads off into the Texas wild.
Being of sound mind and body, Will doesn’t stop and run through the traffic and into the woods in search of this tire. He limps on into the next exit. Then, it must be hereditary, he calls home and has me google some help. I find him a motel and a fix-it shop just across the interstate from him. All is well.
Will gets a room for the night. In the morning, well before the shop is open, he is parked in their lot, waiting for the mechanic to open up. After an hour the owner shows up, sells Will a new hub, tire, and rim. And hands him the bill. Will goes over the bill and asks, “What’s this eighty dollars for?”
The mechanic looks at it awhile and says, “That’s not yours. I’ll take it off.”
Then Will looks at the labor charge. Two hours! Will reminds the mechanic that they haven’t even been open two hours.
The mechanic replies, honestly and truthfully, that, “Yeah, I know. But you were here way before we opened!”