The Old Man in the Yard

I always was a friendly soul, so friendly that most folks thought I was in Amway. I worked at a Texaco, one of the last full service ones, for a few months before and after my wedding day. That’s what I was doing when a plot point happened.

My brother came by one day and said he thought we could make more money mowing grass than at our regular jobs and since I worshiped money it sounded like a good idea. I only had a motorcycle and he was on a bicycle so a vehicle needed to be acquired.

Funny you should mention, a horrible little car just pulled in. I told the guy that I needed a cheap car and we agreed that $125 was a good place to start. My wife had a cow and I went and got the car registered into my name.

I’ll politely skip any mention of the hole in the passenger floorboard that tools kept falling through, the failing transmission, tail lights that worked sometimes, and being #8 in the world for the most rust holes. That would just be rude considering that both mowers would fit in the trunk and the weed eater fit in the back seat next to a can of gas.

There is something interesting that I will mention however. This car was an experiment for the guy that owned it before the guy I bought it from. He was into some kind of effort to make this car make miracle gas mileage by attaching all kinds of new fangled parts.

This was before Al Gore invented the internet {Disclaimer: Everyone knows Al Gore couldn’t invent a slushie if the blender was already full of ice} so it was quite an effort to come up with ideas back then. I had known a few people who liked to tinker so this old man was welcome the first few times he came around wanting to take parts off the car I had bought.

Each time he came over he would tell me how he needed some more parts off the car to go on a different car he had and how it wouldn’t effect anything. He insisted that I would never notice the difference. He would mess with the car for awhile and then leave only to return a few days later for more parts. Pretty soon I decided this was getting old and started saying no.

This guy was in his 80’s and had obviously never been told no before. He became more and more insistent each time he came back. On equal terms, I wasn’t used to saying no to people but when I did say no, I wasn’t used to repeating myself.

One day my pretty little Mrs. came a-wiggling into the living room and glanced out the front window. “Hey Ken, did you know there is an old man laying out in our front lawn?”

Me: Yes

Wife: What’s he doing out there?

Me: I got tired of saying no and let him know it.

Wife: Is he alright?

Me: I think so. He was crawling a little bit ago.

It wasn’t long before I looked out and he was gone and he never asked for anymore parts.


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