The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
By MORRIS STEPHENSON -
I guess I'm like everyone else. Sometimes there are important things that I just don't check on or look into on a regular basis.
That part of my personality was driven home to me... again recently by my neighbor Bobby Radford. The former stock car racing champ at Whitey Taylor's FC Speedway, now drives a rig for Ply Gem, hauling windows all over the southeast. While waiting for the truck to be loaded, Bobby often stops at Pizza King for a bite to eat before hitting the road.
Since my new office is between the restaurant and Bill Greer's computer shop, I see Bobby more in Rocky Mount than I do in Ferrum. So one day last week before the three-day rain started, we were outside standing beside my faithful transportation "Goldie" while we were shooting the breeze, as guys do a lot.
Suddenly Bobby glanced toward the ground and declared, "You're going to be throwing sparks pretty soon now." I looked in the general direction, asking him what he was talking about. "You ain't got much rubber left on those tires before you're going to be running on steel belts," he answered. And sure enough, he was darn near right. It'd been so long ago, I don't recall when I purchased tires or from whom.
Needless to say, I had no record of how many miles were on Goldie when the new rubber tread was installed. Goldie's like her owner... the miles continue to roll up and she's not as shiny and sharp as she once was. In fact, she needs a few parts and pieces that Toyota doesn't even stock for the reliable 4-Runner. But they're still making artificial parts and getting pretty darn good at it.
I do say that I am fast to spot a tire that doesn't have enough air in it in time to get to one of those 50-cents air suppliers. Or I had to see Keith at Main Street Amoco or BP, whichever. Usually he'll get me to pull and back up Goldie a couple of times before spotting a nail as the problem. Although I don't know it for sure, I'd bet my last quarter, the nail was picked up on one of my daily stops at a dumpster. A quick plug job usually always solves my problem until I run over another sharp object.
But there's some things about Goldie I've learned from years of experience. I know about how long I can run her without stopping to check if the gas prices have gone up or down since the last fill-up. I keep a record of date, amount of gas needed to fill the tank, how many miles I've added and the price of a gallon of petrol.
Goldie is approaching the 350,000 mark on the speedometer, but I never glance at that number. If I'm not sure about how far I've traveled since the last trip for gas, I take a quick look at how many miles I've traveled. The math is simple -- I get 20 mph a gallon . That's not bad for an old lady!
Monday morning with all the extra rain crossing Route 40, I found out in a hurry Goldie wasn't on sound footing with the asphalt. I dropped the speed to a safe 40 mph as I plowed through the run-off between Ferrum and Rocky Mount. I headed to the top of the hill to see Keith. "I'm like riding a sled on a steep, curvy ice covered hill," I told him. "Yeah, you do," he said, glancing out the window not wanting to challenge the driving rain that got worse after I pulled in. He opened the bay door and told me to pull in. Then we discussed choice of tires, brand names and price. Once the decision was made, Keith had to go across the street where the tires are apparently stored.
Things went quicker than I expected. I could not believe the difference a new set of tires made. It felt like I was driving a new car, and the power steering really felt like power steering again. I hadn't noticed the feeling I was now feeling had disappeared, long ago apparently.
Then came the first winter storm on Thursday, and boy, did those tires ever work for me Friday morning. I decided to go a home ahead of the snow's arrival so the new rubber wasn't tested.
But Friday was another story! In fact, it took me 30-35 minutes of letting Goldie warm up before I could get about three inches of frozen snow and rain off the windshield. My trusty ride has always been a cold-natured creature. In fact, none of my 4-Runners have been good at warming up in a hurry, especially when idling!
More Books Arrive -- I got the fourth order of books Saturday so you can stop out on North Main at Bill Greer's building. If Goldie's there, I'm inside so stop by.
Another Big Thank You -- "Dandy Dan (Long) My Plumber Man" called me early Thursday morning to say he was coming to the house to install a hand railing down the right side of my basement steps, the side where last week I stepped off too soon and fell. I had mentioned Dan in last week's column after he had installed a hot water heater for me. He told me he had received a call before giving me a ring from a man who needed some work done.
"I always ask a new customer where he heard about me," Dan said. "He said he'd read about me in your column. He also said he'd read in the column when I replaced the old copper water lines in your house but he'd forgotten my name," Dan added.
Sure enough, when I got home Thursday afternoon there was a new, neat-looking railing. Now, I can bounce down the steps holding onto railings on both sides. This will prevent me from taking a right turn before making the entire 13-step descent. As I said, I don't count steps very often and haven't started since turning my ankle as the result of not paying attention to what I'm doing. But I've always been bad about doing something while I'm thinking about something else.
Getting It Right -- An editing job on the funniest part of last week's column changed what I was trying to say. It was about what a woman, who "ain't from around these parts," said about the title of my book. When asking about how I came up with the title, she called it "A Night of Makin' Like-HER," pronounced just like I spelled it here. Apparently she's never tasted Franklin County "likker."
Old Friends Reunited -- After last week's story about me in a daily newspaper, I received calls from a number of old friends, starting with Tony Meadows, a native of Narrows, who was a close friend when I worked for the The Virginian-Leader in Pearisburg. I hadn't seen him since I left in 1964!
Then last Thursday, en route home, I received a call from Don Orfield, a Marion native, who graduated a year ahead of me at Marion High School. We were members of the band that made numerous fun-filled trips. He retired from the Virginia State Police after 40 years and moved to Wytheville.
Oddly enough, Don was stationed in Giles County and arrived there shortly after I left. Being a reporter, I worked with all of the troopers he worked with after being transferred there. We'll probably meet in Roanoke after the weather breaks and stretch an hour lunch to perhaps an entire afternoon!
What goes around comes around, so they say.