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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TIMEX- THE SCREW HARVESTER

I was pushing 200lbs of groceries out of Sam's the other day when I walked by a shiny new black Ford Zephyr. Interested, I peered through the smoked glass to check out if it had a radio. The Zephyr has come a long way since 1979.

Thirty years ago I was six feet tall and in sixth grade. I was in love with my teacher. Making perfect grades was just as much about impressing her as it was about impressing my parents. Simmer down, she was single, and we were the same height.

One day I found out my mother was picking me up at school and I was relieved just to know I wasn't riding the bus. The bus was a difficult place when your tall and awkward. It felt like riding in a tank with a bunch of rabid squirrels. And I was the nut.

I couldn't believe my eyes when my mother pulled up in a brand new baby blue Ford Zephyr. The fact that my parents would spring for a new car was a sign of hope that they were slowly adjusting to the twentieth century. Beaming from ear to ear, I quickly assumed my position in the back seat and started memorizing the dash- big slick gauges, speed control, air conditioning, a rad.... where's the RADIO! My dad opted out of the radio to save money!

It felt like someone gave me a bunch of french fries with no ketchup. Kids today probably would think having no radio is like opting out of the steering wheel. "Oh,give me a silver Hummer with chrome rims but lets knock off the steering wheel to keep it under $50,000." My dad was frugal, he understood the meaning of sacrifice, and he believed in torturing his children.

Six years later, I put the baby blue Zephyr on its side in a steep ditch. With no radio, I left for high school one morning with a portable five inch television/radio combo. Not only could I listen to music but I could also watch Good Morning America. Well, while I was trying to watch the weather I ran off the road, and of course I blamed it on a non-existent drunk driver. Sorry Mom and Dad.

It's weird that you can now buy a car with a television already in it. A friend of mine and I tried to pioneer this concept way back in 1989. I discovered the warning on the back of an old t.v. picture tube that says "risk of electrical shock or death" is no joke. I had decided we could pull the tube out of a television, cut all the wires going to the tube, put the bulk of the t.v. in the trunk, extend the wires, and mount the screen in the dash of my 1984 Dodge convertible. I'd be the only kid in town that was cruising around watching the Waltons. It was a great idea until, while I was cutting the wires, a blue flame wrapped around my arm and punched me in the face like Mike Tyson. Capacitors are real folks. Leave them alone! My arm was numb for four hours.

So I was obviously worried last year when my Dad bought a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup. I just knew it wouldn't have floor mats, a tailgate, or a radio. It wouldn't have been a shock if it didn't even have a truck bed, but to my surprise it had all of these annndddd a CD player. He even got it fixed when he ran a mailbox down the side of it three weeks later. Don't tell me people never change.

A few months ago the miracle I was talking about in an earlier blog involved my father helping me navigate the difficult waters of the Great Recession by allowing me to use his farm and house as collateral. Let's just say he affirmed me financially. I never saw it coming. Don't tell me people never change.

I love my frugal father. The man who harvests screws before discarding appliances has a mystique about him. He is legendary in his own right. The man builds furniture from trees. He still burns wood in a stove. He refuses medical care and he is Baptist. He cleans his ears with a pocket knife. He believes helping his neighbor means growing an extra garden and killing Blue Jays with a pellet gun. And by the way, his nickname is Frog. He got it from the Jackson Fire Department because of his deep voice while dispatching.

I have many memories of Frog, who I call Timex because of his ability to escape death and disregard injury. He is a man of few words. We have thirty years left together if he lives to be 105. Our time is short...and I must unravel the mystery of the man who is my father. I must go deeper into the forest to find the spring. The winter is coming and laughter by itself will not keep me warm. I will keep you posted.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up around Timm and these glimpses back in time just make me laugh. I never grow tired of reading them.

T. (Cooper) Turner

October 8, 2009 at 6:53 PM  

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