Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Week of Gratitude: Day 4 – Generous Old Men

 

Shortly after marrying, my wife and I took a trip from Tucson, where we were going to school, to California. In-between Los Angeles and San Diego our little car started to overheat. Pulling into a rest-area and lifting the hood, I discovered that one of the brackets holding a pulley on the accessory belt had broken. While still attached to the frame, the pulley was no longer putting tension on the belt. Being a newlywed husband with only moderate skills at anything and no tools to speak of, I used a pair of nylon stockings to tie the bracket back to its anchor point (I think I got the idea from an old Cary Grant movie, “Operation Petticoat”). This was insufficient, of course, but it was enough for us to limp into Carlsbad, California, where I purchased a set of pliers and some bailing wire which I used to wire the bracket to its mount. The repair was good enough to get us home. (We wound up spending the day in Carlsbad and the next day in San Diego and we had a great time. Never mind that the car was broken.)

Back home, I mentioned the broken bracket to a friend from church. He referred me to his father, I’ll call him Jim, a retiree who had a mechanic shop in his garage. Jim re-welded the broken part for me for peanuts. Over the next few months he taught me how to fix a few other things on the car that needed to be repaired. During one of our first sessions he told me to remove a part from the front-end (I can’t remember which one) and it was like he was speaking Greek. I was embarrassed, but he calmly showed me what needed to be done.

I am grateful to Jim for teaching me “how to fish” and for helping me to become a passable mechanic. His example has been a motivation for me to help when I have been asked to offer similar service. We moved a year after this incident and I’ve lost track of Jim and his son. Someday I will get to tell him the fruit his efforts have born.

Day 3

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  1. EODmom Coolidge

    Fathers teach “stuff,” but they also teach generosity. Your story shows once more how important fathers are. Thank you for writing about this. 

    • #1
    • November 25, 2020, at 2:04 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Annefy Member

    I miss the days of car repair.

    We had a neighbor (passed away 10 years ago) who we used to joke could hear a hood being popped. Husband and / or sons would barely have time to guess at the problem before Jim would show up and happily assist. 

    About five years ago son #3 fell asleep behind the wheel of my husband’s F150 and took out several cars about a half a mile from our house. It was about 4:00 in the morning; we spent about an hour being treated nicely by the people whose cars had been damaged and our local police and being relieved no one had been hurt. I jumped in the tow truck to direct the driver to our home.

    The tow truck driver hadn’t even parked before I saw Jim’s son walking down the street. He’d recognized the sound of a tow truck and was headed out way. At which point I burst into tears. 

    • #2
    • November 25, 2020, at 3:07 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  3. Mark Camp Member

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Fathers teach “stuff,” but they also teach generosity. Your story shows once more how important fathers are. Thank you for writing about this.

    To hear this from a mom meant a lot to me and other dads. We are just like you’all in this way: we do it because it’s what we do, not to get praise for it. But still, every once in a while…

    • #3
    • November 25, 2020, at 4:24 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Eddy Ericsson Coolidge

    My dad showed me the basics of car repair. I wrote about my day and what he did for me earlier this week.

    • #4
    • November 25, 2020, at 4:31 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Alan Drake Coolidge
    Alan Drake

    Annefy (View Comment):

    I miss the days of car repair.

    We had a neighbor (passed away 10 years ago) who we used to joke could hear a hood being popped. Husband and / or sons would barely have time to guess at the problem before Jim would show up and happily assist.

    About five years ago son #3 fell asleep behind the wheel of my husband’s F150 and took out several cars about a half a mile from our house. It was about 4:00 in the morning; we spent about an hour being treated nicely by the people whose cars had been damaged and our local police and being relieved no one had been hurt. I jumped in the tow truck to direct the driver to our home.

    The tow truck driver hadn’t even parked before I saw Jim’s son walking down the street. He’d recognized the sound of a tow truck and was headed out way. At which point I burst into tears.

    People like Jim are saints in deed. Thank you for adding your story.

    • #5
    • November 25, 2020, at 5:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge

    This is a very nice tale to read as item number one on Thanksgiving morning.

    Thank you.

    • #6
    • November 26, 2020, at 10:35 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Cow Girl Thatcher

    My father was not a mechanic. He took the car to town to have the oil changed. His talents were with soil, seeds, animals and harvests. I married a man whose mechanical skills are so vast that I laughingly say that he bleeds motor oil if he’s cut. We never owned a new car until we’d been married for almost 30 years. We’d buy a $100 vehicle and he’d rebuild the engine and fix up the interior (making sure I had my two vital necessities: interior lights and working gas gauge.) So, I got to stay home and be the mom when the kids were little, and I didn’t have to go out and work to make the car payment. It’s an amazing skill he has and I’ve always appreciated it. And so did my dad one summer when we spent a month at my parents’ farm and Mr. CowGirl replaced the transmission in my dad’s cattle truck. Skills…Husbands with Skills are the best kind. 

    • #7
    • November 27, 2020, at 3:00 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Alan Drake Coolidge
    Alan Drake

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    My father was not a mechanic. He took the car to town to have the oil changed. His talents were with soil, seeds, animals and harvests. I married a man whose mechanical skills are so vast that I laughingly say that he bleeds motor oil if he’s cut. We never owned a new car until we’d been married for almost 30 years. We’d buy a $100 vehicle and he’d rebuild the engine and fix up the interior (making sure I had my two vital necessities: interior lights and working gas gauge.) So, I got to stay home and be the mom when the kids were little, and I didn’t have to go out and work to make the car payment. It’s an amazing skill he has and I’ve always appreciated it. And so did my dad one summer when we spent a month at my parents’ farm and Mr. CowGirl replaced the transmission in my dad’s cattle truck. Skills…Husbands with Skills are the best kind.

    I’m a little jealous. Without youtube and a car manual I get lost pretty quickly.

    • #8
    • November 27, 2020, at 3:06 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Charlotte Member
    CharlotteJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Alan Drake (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    My father was not a mechanic. He took the car to town to have the oil changed. His talents were with soil, seeds, animals and harvests. I married a man whose mechanical skills are so vast that I laughingly say that he bleeds motor oil if he’s cut. We never owned a new car until we’d been married for almost 30 years. We’d buy a $100 vehicle and he’d rebuild the engine and fix up the interior (making sure I had my two vital necessities: interior lights and working gas gauge.) So, I got to stay home and be the mom when the kids were little, and I didn’t have to go out and work to make the car payment. It’s an amazing skill he has and I’ve always appreciated it. And so did my dad one summer when we spent a month at my parents’ farm and Mr. CowGirl replaced the transmission in my dad’s cattle truck. Skills…Husbands with Skills are the best kind.

    I’m a little jealous. Without youtube and a car manual I get lost pretty quickly.

    Not at all! Successfully completing a repair with the help of YouTube and a manual totally counts! Just having the confidence and fortitude to start in on something unfamiliar impresses the heck out of me. (True of car and other mechanical repairs as well.) Mr. Charlotte is very handy, yes, but just as important, he’s willing to take apart the ice maker, watch a bunch of videos, and figure the damned thing out.

    • #9
    • November 27, 2020, at 3:39 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Annefy Member

    Isn’t YouTube amazing? I’ve a reputation among my peers as a computer whiz (not even close to true) The reality is I’m not afraid to try anything, and that I’m usually searching the problem as they’re describing it to me on the phone. 

    Scott Adams recently complained, and my husband concurred, that the worst part of YouTube was listening to someone’s intro (been working construction for 25 years, my kids talked me into starting a YouTube channel …). It’s my favorite part. 

    I daily marvel that no matter my problem or question, not only does someone out there have the answer, they’ve taken the time to make a video about it. And I like hearing about their lives. 

    • #10
    • November 29, 2020, at 5:56 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Alan Drake Coolidge
    Alan Drake

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Isn’t YouTube amazing? I’ve a reputation among my peers as a computer whiz (not even close to true) The reality is I’m not afraid to try anything, and that I’m usually searching the problem as they’re describing it to me on the phone.

    Scott Adams recently complained, and my husband concurred, that the worst part of YouTube was listening to someone’s intro (been working construction for 25 years, my kids talked me into starting a YouTube channel …). It’s my favorite part.

    I daily marvel that no matter my problem or question, not only does someone out there have the answer, they’ve taken the time to make a video about it. And I like hearing about their lives.

    I often feel bad that I use all of these videos but I’m not making any myself. I’m grateful for people who put in the effort. I really should make some myself for the projects I’m doing.

    • #11
    • November 30, 2020, at 9:22 AM PST
    • 1 like