Note: I have told this story before, but a couple of readers have asked me to repost it again.
I wish you could have met my father. He was quite a character. He could play any instrument with keys or strings, though he never had a lesson in his life and couldn’t read music. He loved books, he was a fantastic storyteller, and he had a wicked sense of humor.
I guess I am my father’s son because except for the music I inherited at least a tiny bit of his other characteristics. When it comes to music, forget it. I can’t even play the stereo in my car. I tried to learn to play the saxophone once. I never was able to blow a single note, but I could scare the hell out of Terry’s cat.
When I was a kid, my dad did not much care for one of his brothers-in-law, a person who shall remain nameless. This fellow was pretty much a freeloader who abused everybody’s hospitality whenever he could. One time he showed up at our place and, like he always did, he overstayed his welcome.
My dad was driving home from work one evening and a large rattlesnake crossed the road. He got out and shot it, then got a wild idea for a prank. He had an old laundry basket in the trunk of his car and he coiled the dead snake up in the basket. When he got home, he told my uncle he had bought a bunch of steaks and ribs to throw on the barbecue, and asked him to run out and get them from the basket in the trunk of his car. Always looking for a free meal, the patsy hurried outside in the twilight, grabbed the basket from the trunk, and was back under the front porch light before he ever looked down and saw what was in it. The way I hear the story, they could hear his scream from half a mile away.
Another time, my dad had a car with a visor over the front windshield, similar to this one, although this is just a picture I found on the Internet. I don’t remember how it worked, but there was some kind of a knob on the inside of the car above the rearview mirror, and Dad could turn the knob to raise and lower the visor a bit.
The same uncle was in the car with him one day and asked what the knob was for. My dad told him it was a windshield stretcher and said the car was equipped with an adjustable windshield. He explained that on rough country roads he could turn the knob to loosen the tension on the windshield to keep it from breaking from vibrations. Then he could turn the knob in the other direction and tighten it up when he got on a better road. He said because of that option he had never had a broken windshield since he bought the car. My uncle reached for the knob and Dad slapped his hand away, telling him if he got it too tight, the windshield would not be able to flex properly and would break. He said he had to take a two-hour class when he bought the car to learn how to properly adjust the windshield stretcher. From what I hear, my uncle spent the rest of his life telling people about that wonderful option, the windshield stretcher.
I’ve been known to tell a fib like that now and then myself. Years ago we were having one of our Gypsy Journal RV rallies at the fairgrounds in Casa Grande, Arizona. At the time I had a beautiful Yamaha V-Star 1100cc motorcycle, which rode in the back of the van we towed behind our MCI bus conversion. I got the bike out of the van before the rally started, thinking I would take it for a ride. But, as it turned out, the battery was low. No problem, I had a battery tender, which is a small charger that connects to the motorcycle’s battery, which was under the seat and out of sight. I pushed the bike over to a power pole that had an electrical outlet on it, hooked up the connections to the battery, lowered the seat back down, and plugged in the charger.
A couple of hours later one of the people who had arrived early for the rally asked me why my motorcycle was plugged in. I told him it was one of those new hybrid motorcycles that could run on either gas or electricity, and I was charging the batteries. He said he had never heard of a hybrid motorcycle. I told him they were new and hard to come by but got amazing mileage. I said the last time I had put fuel in the motorcycle was almost 2,000 miles ago, and the tank was still almost full. “No way,” he said incredulously. “I swear to God it’s true,” I told him. And it was true; the last time I put gas in it was way back in Elkhart, Indiana and the bike had been riding in the back of the van ever since.
This gentleman told me he absolutely had to have a hybrid motorcycle like that and asked if I wanted to sell it. I told him no, they were too hard to come by and I didn’t know when I would find another one. The next day he told me that he had gone to the Yamaha dealer there in town and they told him they had never heard of a hybrid motorcycle. I suggested he just had to keep checking around, because like I told him, they were new to the market and most shops probably didn’t even know about them yet.
The rally began, everybody had a good time, and then we all headed for wherever our next stop was. I had completely forgotten about the incident with the motorcycle until I got an e-mail from the gentleman telling me that he had looked at over a dozen Yamaha dealerships across the country, and not one of those fools believed him when he told them about my hybrid motorcycle, even when he told them he had seen it with his very own eyes! I just smiled, kind of like my dad used to do.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.
To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – Sometimes, even the devil on my shoulder asks, “What the hell are you doing?”