The past few weeks have been a mixed bag with highs points and low points, not so much different from every other person I know. However, as I sat down to write this week, those points kept coming to mind. And as every writer knows, when something keeps coming to mind, best to write it down.
The lows recently have to do with ownership and the things that can happen randomly to anyone.
The first ownership issue is the ownership of a vehicle. I’m one of those people who tend to hold on to their mode of transportation until the bottom rusts out. My car is 8 years old and working perfectly fine. I had bought it used from a dealership where it had been a leased car. I’ve had my share of new cars and loved each and every one of them, but with that said, at some point a good used vehicle works just as well. In fact my first vehicle as a high school graduate getting ready to head off to college was a used car – a Pinto with a hatchback. I may have had to place sandbags in the back during the winter despite using winter tires but it got me where I wanted to go.
I’d later take ownership of a new T-Bird with turbo drive, which while being a very nice riding car could not take me where I wanted to go in the winter. It was the early 80s and if not for a friend and co-worker I would have slept at the office because on that wintery, icy night, my T-Bird could not drive up either East or West Main Street in Brookville. The turbo would automatically kick in and I’d lose all traction.
The current car has a nice ride and is reliable no matter the season but a sneaky brick ended up causing the old gal some problems.
In downtown Brookville there are bricks as part of the streetscape between the cement sidewalks and the road. While they likely looked beautiful when first placed many years ago, our thaw, freeze, thaw, freeze cycle that we experience each winter has caused them to rise up here and there. For those of us who grew up in this region, it comes as no surprise.
What did come as a surprise is the morning I back the car out of a parking space to go to an interview and heard a loud scraping noise. Now, I’ve heard a lesser scraping noise many a time, as the front fender is just high enough to clear the curb and reach the brick portion of the sidewalk. I’m sure the bumper on the underside is scratched up completely.
This time was different, although I didn’t realize it at first.
Later in the day I would happen to look at that front fender and realize there was a seam that was gaping. Since it is all one part with the front grill, I don’t fear it falling off but I will have to stop at the garage to see if it can be popped back in place once more. For now I’m sure people wonder if I was in an accident and why I haven’t gotten it fixed already.
Shortly afterwards came ownership issue two, which deals with home ownership.
I had gone merrily on my way to work but when Dad got up he thought the main part of the house was more than a little cold. The thermostat read 69 so he thought he would turn it up slightly and see if that took the chill off the rooms, but as he turned there was no sound of the furnace kicking on. Thinking it was a thermostat problem he replaced the batteries but again nothing.
This led him to checking the 20-plus-year-old furnace only to find the motor – very, very hot, but not running. Definitely we needed to call to have someone check the furnace. Sad to say, the furnace did not survive. Within 48 hours from finding the problem, we had a new furnace and a thermostat that looks more like an iPad than any thermostat I’ve ever seen. While the downside may be having to purchase a new furnace, the up side is the even heat the new model provides and the easy, touchscreen thermostat.
On the high point side, I received a call this week from Tom Duffy, of Reynoldsville, who shared a memory of Kirk Douglas. He had read my column last week and was kind enough to share his experience of actually meeting Douglas at a book signing in Washington, D.C. He said he bought Douglas’ book and stood in line for him to autograph it. Douglas would tell of driving to the film studio one day, as he lived outside of Los Angeles, and passing a hitchhiker. Thinking he might like some company on the drive he turned around and drove back to the hitchhiker. Upon opening the door, the hitchhiker exclaimed, “Do you know who you are?” I can just imagine the shock any of us might have felt to realize some major movie star had stopped to give us a lift. I must say thanks to Tom for sharing that story.
The other high point was earlier in the month. A sweet couple – Jim and Barbara O’Donnell have stopped in to the office in Brookville to enter one of the many contests we have been running in February. Jim has commented on this column and shared the fact that he had something similar to what Dad had as a boy. Dad’s was called a “jumper” that his dad had made him. It was one ski with a seat that Dad would ride down the slope. The seat sat high above the ski.
I mentioned to him that it seemed to me it would be hard to steer and he agreed that could be the case. One also had to get on and off the contraption carefully or risk a tearing of the pants. Thanks Jim and Barbara for taking the time to chat and share some memories.
When I can spark a memory for others it gives me great joy. And the sharing of such memories, I think, brings us all closer together knowing that we’re not so very different from the person that we may pass on the street or meet in the grocery store. I wonder what such a world would be like if we focused on what we had in common with each other and not what was different?