Monday, December 12, 2011

Past Memories -Guest blog by Doug

NOTE FROM TONI:  I had a hellva time editing this for Doug.  The spacing is off and the font changes from time to time.  Gave up trying to fix it.  It is long but worth it.  Remember truth is stranger than fiction and this, my friends, is all TRUE!

After having lived here for over twenty-five years we have lots of memories. They come to mind as 

we drive around on our various errands. Here is one from a warm Saturday afternoon in June 2005.
  We were just beginning the major renovation on our house and I needed a truck for trips to the dump and the building supply.    Lucky me, I found a 1979 Dodge pickup at "Shifty" the mechanics place. It was just down the road and for sale at only $850.00.   So Saturday afternoon I bought and insured it and then went to the bank and retrieved Toni from work.
  We set off for the lumber yard to get fencing supplies. For a while now I had wanted to repair and extend the fence between us and our uphill neighbour.  He was an extremely shy little man, very private with fewer than none friends. I had voted him the one in the neighbourhood most likely to become an axe murderer.
  So here we are getting posts, cement, 2x4's and fence panels in our new to us old truck.  Yes, you guessed it, almost as soon as we pulled out of the lumberyard...the truck died and defied all my efforts to restart it.  "Shifty" had warned me that it had two gas tanks, one now unconnected. "Don't put gas in the wrong one you will be wasting your money" he said through teeth firmly clenched around a five dollar cigar.  I decided that I must have, after all, gassed up the wrong tank and headed back to the lumberyard to borrow a gas can.  They didn't have one so instead I asked a fellow customer for a ride to the nearest gas station which was about a mile away down a long hill.  "Sure no problem, hop in" he said, then proceeded to count five and floor it out onto the very busy (bumper to bumper) highway. Horns honked, tires screeched and I shut my eyes and winced waiting for the crash which to my great relief didn't happen. I wanted to apologize to the other motorists and tell them I didn't know this crazy man but it was too late, we were roaring away down the hill.
  At the gas station intersection there is a traffic light. Thankfully it was red because he jerked his little truck to a stop and said "That's the best I can do better hop out."  So I did --right in the middle of four lanes of Saturday afternoon traffic. I watched from the center median as the psychopath and other more regular drivers went on their way.
Now for the gas station-- which also did not have a gas can to lend or even one to sell.  "And don't bother with the one across the street they don't have any either."  he said.  The attendant obviously felt I was some kind of shady character arriving as I had on foot, out of breathe and shaking a little.
I was wondering what to do when I spotted some one gallon containers of window wash on sale. "Okay" I said  "If I buy two of these could you go in the back and pour them down the drain ? I'll fill them with gas and it's goodbye to me.""Can't do that, they're not a legal container." he snarked.
" Okay. Here's what we'll do." I said " I'll buy these two gallons of window washer. You will, because you 

are a nice guy, empty them for me. I will then buy two gallons of gas and you won't even have to know what I put it in."  Knowing he was beaten or was about to be he reluctantly agreed. I was soon on my way up the long hill with my gas in NOT official containers and NOT asking for a ride. 

 A rusty used-to-be-blue sedan rattled to a stop beside me. It held a smallish, black bearded, dentally-challenged man and three dogs. A large, placid black lab and a brown, smiley medium sized mutt were on the backseat. Restrained in the drivers lap was a snarly little thing that was hating me before I even bent down to the open window." I know what it's like fella "he said "Outta gas, hot day, long walk, big hill. Get in...I'll have you back in no time!"
Feeling the heat and not wanting to be rude I got in, in spite of my previous experience.
Yay!! He was a polite driver, waited for an opening and pulled away smoothly into the traffic--quite a feat as he was driving standard and holding down Mitsy or Bitsy or whatever the hell her name was. She knew that if she could just get at me she could rip out my throat and then she and all her pals would be safe once again.
The two buds in the back seat were much better behaved, the lab was content to breathe hotly on the top of my head while the smaller one was trying to lick (or taste) my ear.
"It's just around the corner up here. I really appreciate the ride. I have been gone for some time and my wife will be wondering where I am." "Wife eh?" he said giving me a disturbing three toothed grin (he might have had more but they would have to have been molars way in the back) as we pulled over in front of the truck. I got out and slammed the door just as the nasty little beast smacked against the window still trying to take a bite of me.
I turned to find my Good Samaritan at the truck’s passenger door handing Toni a bouquet of ditch daisies and wild clover. "Lovely flowers for a lovely lady" he said and then as if embarrassed rushed for his car and drove off before I could even thank him.
"Well" I said "That was odd".
"Who was that? “said Toni.
I shrugged "I haven't a clue."
Now to keep the story moving along I can tell you that the day wore on and that truck would not stay running for more than a minute or two. I finally gave up.
 "We'll have to get a tow. I'll go back to the lumberyard and phone (cell phone left in the car) for one.
By this time the lumberyard staff were trying to close and were not happy to see me again, but one of them handed me a phone and a business card for Clover Towing.
“He’s a nice guy if he can’t help you, he’ll find someone to send.”
I got a gravelly voice on the phone “Clover Towing”.
I explained.
“I’m just on my way home but no problem I can swing by and get you fixed up in no time”.
I expected a bit of a wait but he was there almost as soon as I got back. Typical tow truck guy—sweaty, balding, grimy t-shirt over a well fed belly. Until he got out and his worn old shorts showed that the man had practically no legs—one ended just below the knee and was completed by a fairly normal looking plastic prosthetic, the other ended mid –thigh and continued to his boot by way of something I might have built with my Meccano set in my younger years.
I gave Toni one of those looks that long married couples use to pass along a wealth of comment and feeling, then proceeded to try and give him a hand (figuratively speaking of course, he still had the regular amount of those).
He didn’t need any help at all, silly me, and in just a short time we were jammed in the cab with him and off we went. The girl had to sit in the middle because well…. she’s the girl.
I had not tied down my fencing material with any thought of being towed and was nervous about it staying put.
“Well, just keep an eye on ‘er and if she starts to shift let me know”.
So while I kept my anxious eye on it Toni had one of those awkward conversations we have to have with strangers when we are stuck in close quarters with them. I tuned in at one point and noticed they were discussing tomatoes. He apparently loved them and had about fifty plants. Toni sai that I too, grew my tomatoes from seed.
I went back to watching the load, the road and wondering how he was going to get us past four lanes of traffic into our long narrow driveway. If he went in front first, then unhooked he would not get out again without driving over our lawn. He would have to back in. How would he do that on such a busy road?
No problem—just put on those flashers pull straight out across all four lanes stop everybody and let them gawk at us as we are returned finally to the safety of our home.
Nice guy that he was he took only the cash I had in my pocket for payment (no cheques please).
As we were settling up, Toni appeared with two of my potted tomato plants and handed them to him. He looked a little confused but strapped them to the back of his truck and waved goodbye.
“Why did you give him tomato plants?” He said he had fifty of his own”.
“Oh” she said “I must have missed that. He was so nice it just seemed the thing to do”.
I let out a long sigh of relief and we went inside sat down, looked at each and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Epilogue: I spent most of the next day replacing the fuel pump in the truck. After that it ran just fine and when we were through with it I sold the ugly old thing for the same dollars that I paid for it. HMMMM... and that reminds of the time we bought a billy goat for our does at the Langley Farm Auction...but that is a story for another time.


Linda Sand said...

Thanks. I enjoyed your story a lot more than you enjoyed providing it. :)

Jim and Sandie said...

Isn't life sooo much fun some days. But a new grandbaby helps to make the world bright.

Wanderin' said...

Interesting. Sometimes the font just won't cooperate, will it?

FULL-TIMERS...OCT. 17, 2009 said...

Cool story. Sorry you had such a problem posting it...but it worked any way!