Some bad candidates and some good people

For us political junkies, the election in November is depressing.

We have one party whose leader may be weeks away from living at the Funny Farm, facing another candidate who may be weeks away from living at the Honor Farm (where less violent criminals spend their time in some correctional systems).

While most of us will be making our vote based upon our party and political feelings, as well as looking at the performance of the incumbent and the most recent incumbent, the truth is that a lot of our decision making will be based upon which candidate we hate less.  The two parties should be called “I’m not Trump” and “I’m out for revenge.”  What a choice!

 Anyway, on a happier note, I want to praise a few folks I dealt with during the past couple weeks.

One day, I was on the way to the South Bend Bridge Center* to teach my regular Tuesday morning class to folks from the Forever Learning Institute.  The roads were finally clear and I could get out of my long, snow-laden driveway.  As I was approaching the traffic circle (we call them “rotaries” in my home state of Massachusetts), my 2015 Nissan Versa hit a slippery spot and started to skid.

Note to readers:  Do not put on the brake.  Anyway, next thing I know, I’m sitting on top of the snowbank/berm.  This would have been fine, except the front end of my 2015 Nissan Versa hit a YIELD sign and took it down.  The sign was unyielding. 

(*If anyone would like bridge lessons, at any skill level, please contact me.  I especially like former players trying to get back in the swing of things or rubber bridge players trying to learn modern bidding techniques.  But I digress.)

Along came Good Samaritan #1, who asked if he should call it in.  Since my tombstone is going to say “He never owned a cell phone or appeared on social media,” I signaled yes.

Good Samaritan #2 pulled in behind me and offered to help push me off the bank.  He was not a young man, perhaps late 50’s (25 years younger than the driver of the 2015 Nissan Versa, however).  He had the size of Rosey Grier, so that was encouraging.  BTW, when I lived in L.A., 40+ years ago, I was out to dinner one night with my wife and two young daughters.  As I was leaving our favorite restaurant, a gigantic black man, who took up most of the aisle, pointed at me and said “We’re going to kick your ass.”

He had three other big guys behind him.  While I was at that time the Chief of Staff of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, I was not packing (or “417”/man with a gun, as we cops were wont to say).  I put my arms to my side to protect my family … and then the big, really big, guy started laughing.  It was Rosey Grier whom I immediately recognized having followed his football and acting career.  He then pointed at the ND shirt I was wearing and said “I’m a Penn State grad; and we’re playing you this fall.”  I just looked up the date of the game.  It was November 21, 1981.  He was right in the outcome.  His boys defeated ND, 24-21.  But I digress.

Anyway, Rosey II and I were unable to budge my 2015 Nissan Versa because it was hooked on the YIELD sign.  Not a good sign.  And the sign was no longer very good, either.  If this guy is one of your readers, I hope he contacts me.  I got so involved with the cops and the wrecker that I failed to exchange info with him.

So, the wrecker towed away my 2015 Nissan Versa.  Took it to Dale’s Auto Sales (and Service) on U.S. 31 North, just short of the border of the State whose motto is “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”  Yeah, I know it’s no longer called U.S. 31 North (or Dixie Highway), but I’m a holdout on these re-namings.  I was born, during WWII, on the Army Base at Fort Bragg, not at some place called Fort Liberty.  But I digress.

Steve runs Dale’s and is the best auto mechanic and service guy I have ever known.  The front end of my 2015 Nissan Versa is nothing but a lot of plastic, so Steve was not able to do much with it.  He recommended Karl Weis.  When I got there, I told the service guy that my first time there was in the Summer of 1969.  Told him that my repair cost then was $17.  Told him I hoped he could put together the pile of plastic hanging from my car and resting in the back of my car for the same $17.

He took the car back into the yard for a “look-see” and estimate.  When he drove it back out, the entire pile of plastic had been re-attached! He said there was no more he could do because that open spot in the front was where a missing piece used to be and he didn’t have that piece in stock.  Frankly, the car looks pretty darn good, considering it is a 2015 model, which I may have mentioned.  What did he charge me?  Considerably less than what I paid 54 years earlier.

If you are looking for a GREAT mechanic and a GREAT body shop, please use these folks and tell them “Cappy sent you.”

My final happier news to report is that I needed to get some shots.  Covid, Flu, RSV, and Shingles.  I went to my regular CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Edison and Ironwood, not far from the Pancake House, where Nancy is the owner, after being my waitress there for 17 years.  I recommend the Swedish Pancakes.  Tell her “Cappy sent you.”  But I digress.

Anyway the guy who gave me a couple of these shots was someone I had never seen before.  Youngish.  Ethnic looking.  He was outstanding.  In addition to not hurting me with the needle, he was very informative in answering my questions about shingles and the need for a second shot.  He was a great ambassador for CVS.  I stopped by a couple days later to give the pharmacist my attaboy for the young man and ask why I had never seen him before.  He smiled and said that they borrowed him from their Elkhart store and that he is outstanding.

 I later sent a long email to CVS, praising him.  This is the reply I got from CVS:  “…passed along your kind words and praise to Rehan!  He was very happy to hear and it made his day!  Sincerely, Azzedine Benchaar, Pharmacy Manager, CVS Health.”

And, I have one more bit of bad/good news to report.  On Tuesday night, I was quite cold at bedtime.  I didn’t think much of it because I had been going in and out, into the cold, while being able to drive my semi-rehabbed 2015 Nissan Versa.  After a while shivering in my bed, I felt the vent to see if the heat was coming through.  ‘Twasn’t.  My furnace had died.  Yuck.

 The next morning, I called Great Lakes Heating.  Within a couple hours, a guy named Matt Smith showed up.  Even though my furnace is barely half my age, he said it is quite old.  It’s actually 31 years older than my Nissan Versa.  Anyway, he did all kinds of checking and other stuff, too complicated for me to explain (because I couldn’t understand it) and, at the end, he said, “It’s going to be OK.”

The bill was CHEAP.  And, as frugal as I am, this is quite a comment.  So, if you need help with your furnace or car or body repair (on your auto), you have some leads.  But don’t forget to get your shots.  I recommend driving to the Elkhart CVS and look for Rehan.