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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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One more blow for ‘Goldie’
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

By MORRIS STEPHENSON -

I guarantee you this won't be the last time this item appears in this column. I guess I'll call it the "Sunday Saga" for starters.

Actually what happened has got me really worried at this point. Goldie, my '86 4-Runner, suffered a serious set-back Sunday afternoon. It's so bad, it could turn out to be Goldie's fatal blow, so to speak.

It was a typical Sunday until about 3:30 p.m. when I realized I hadn't unloaded a big sack of black oil sunflower seed from Goldie's cargo area. So I turned on the switch and lowered the back glass. The switch was designed with a safety feature so I cannot lower the door until the back glass is secure at the very bottom.

Now, the sack of seed was a little heavy and once I pulled it to the end of the tailgate, I got a firm hold and lifted. I decided to carry it to the back of the house where I keep all the seed in a large tote. I emptied the seed into the tote, filled the near empty feeders and returned to the 4-Runner.

Not looking back, I pushed the switch to raise the back window and noticed from the rear-view mirror that it wasn't coming up. I hit the switch again, and nothing happened. I first thought the new switch had gone bad after "Dr. Dale" Angell replaced it a month or so ago.

Getting out of the driver's seat, I walked around to the back and realized the tailgate was still down. It's something I hadn't noticed while sitting in the cab. From the small viewing area, I can't see if the tailgate is up or down unless I turn around and look.

Because the back glass was all the way up, the first thing I thought was "this has never happened before. The safety switch has always worked...until now!" So I pushed the tailgate upward and called to wife Hazel who was sitting in the swing on the carport.

"Come help me a minute," I called out with some urgency in my voice. She promptly came to the rear of the vehicle, asking what I wanted her to do. "Just hold this door until I can see if I can get the glass back down," was my instruction.

So back to the passenger seat I went and pushed the button to lower the glass. (My error was not turning around to make sure the glass had completely been lowered.) "Okay, now shut the door," I said to her.

I was exiting the vehicle as I saw her shut the heavy door and heard the horrifying sound of glass exploding! As if in slow motion, I saw the safety glass shatter into a "kazillion" tiny pieces. "What happened?" Hazel asked in an alarmed voice.

"The glass wasn't all the way down in the door," I answered in shock. The driveway was covered with pea size and smaller glass pieces. I leaned over and looked into the cargo area. The entire floor area and even over the wheel wells were covered with teeny-weeny glass pieces, reflecting the sunlight.

The only large sections were the ones held together by the paddling stickers that adorned the lower part of the back window. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to do it," said a heartbroken Hazel.

I assured her it wasn't her fault. "It was totally my mistake," I said, trying to relieve her guilty feeling. "The glass isn't even supposed to come up unless the back door is totally closed. In fact, it won't even unlock unless the glass is down," I explained.

However, that didn't help her nor did it make me feel any better. The first thing that crossed my mind is "where am I going to find a used replacement window?" Thanks to President Obama, old 4-Runners have long seen a shredder, thanks to "Cash for Clunkers."

Patrick Holland, wife Hazel's grandson son-in-law, works for the big glass company in Roanoke. His job is replacing broken vehicle glasses, using his multi-purpose van. Yep, he's the one who comes to your house and replaces a broken front, back or side window.

He was mowing grass when I called, so he came to the house around 5 p.m. He opened the van's side door and got out a long hose leading to a super large vacuum cleaner. Patrick fired it up and leaned over the tailgate. And glass started disappearing with each sweep of the hose.

Using gloves, I had already picked up the larger pieces stuck to a sticker. But when I tried to pick up a large piece of shattered glass, it would crumble into a bunch of pieces before I could get it off the carpet.

I crawled into the back seat and took the hose to get what Patrick couldn't reach from outside. To say there was glass everywhere would be a gross understatement! I'd bet the vacuum cleaner ran for 10 minutes or more before we got down to just a small amount of pieces found here and there. He then pulled out a large roll of clear, really sticky, tough plastic. The two of us worked carefully pulling it off the roll and keeping it from sticking to itself.

It didn't take as long as I thought before we had the whole rear window sealed with the see-through tape. "No water will get in there," he assured me as I glanced over my shoulder and saw dark clouds forming over the Philpott Lake area. "It looks like the stick-on back window might get tested in a short period of time," I said. However, it didn't get wet until early Monday morning when a gentle rain passed through Ferrum. The taped "window" did its job, and sure enough, there was not a wet mark on any of the cargo carpet area.

So as I write this week's column, the search has begun for a replacement back glass for ole Goldie. If I have as much trouble getting a glass as I did the switch, then a couple of weeks could pass before I use this topic again in the column.

All I can say at this point is, wish me luck and if you know of anyone with an old 4-Runner (1984-1988 vintage), give me a call ASAP. I've got a feeling the search end up at all the "junk yards" or used parts dealers from sea to shining sea.

Clear Blue Skies and Rain - Friday afternoon, I picked up a book order at Southern Print and Copy in Roanoke and had started delivering them to Danny Perdue's four county minute markets at Penhook, Glade Hill, Redwood and Ferrum.

The last time I dropped off books at Penhook, I had glanced at my gas gauge and realized the little needle was below the "E" mark. Thank goodness I did notice before I headed to Glade Hill.

I had the books in boxes in the cargo area of Goldie. Since her AC doesn't work, I had the windows down, the "moon roof "open and the back glass down. There were only a few puffy snow white clouds dotting the sky. Rain never crossed my mind.

Taking the books into the store, I quickly started signing my name on the inside covers. I'd been at it a few minutes, when Michael Brown, a student working there in the summer, called out, "Poppa Morris, it's raining and all your windows are open."

To say it was pouring rain would be like saying the ocean contains water. It was raining so hard, the drops were bouncing several inches into the air when hitting the asphalt. And it was blowing the rain in from the passenger side. And the sun was brightly shining!

Totally soaked would be a good term to describe what I was when I hopped into the driver's side and started raising the windows. Everything in the passenger seat was soaking wet, but the driver's side had escaped. Thank goodness, the new books were okay. I had taken the time to replace the box tops.

When stepping under the store's awning, I realized I'd been soaked even more. I looked into the bright sky for any sign of clouds over head. There was none! As I made my way to the Glade Hill store, I got a better view of the sky. All the clouds were white and no sign of a dark one filled with rain.

I made it back to Rocky Mount without rain, but when I arrived in town, the same thing happened as I returned to Goldie after a brief stop at Dollar General.

Neither of the rain storms lasted more than five minutes. So it made me wonder, how do we get rain with no dark clouds even in the immediate area?

Speaking of rain brings something else to mind. Did you notice that you couldn't get into a conversation during the month of June without someone bringing up the subject of rain.

The farmers say "low-lying" corn fields are beginning to turn yellow, while the ones planted on higher ground are doing very well. I've heard some reports of potatoes rotting in the ground, while others gardens are producing big yields. And I've only heard of one woman who has been picking tomatoes out of the garden for the last week. Everyone else has nothing but green fruit on the vines.

One good thing I know is the county's rivers and creeks have been fuller this year than any year I can remember. All the paddlers are happy except for having to deal with the trees blown across the river by the gusting winds it seems we've been getting since the first month of the year!

Books Going to Texas - Jason Cundiff called the house Sunday to announce that he was going to leave for Texas at the end of this week and wanted to take five signed copies of "A Night of Makin' Likker" with him. Four were for friends of his, while the other was going to his stepson "Fuzz," who moved to Texas several years ago to attend college. And he liked it so well in the Lone Star state that he decided to get a job and live there. "He's really happy and is doing well," Jason said about Fuzz.

 
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