The Journal of Provincial Thought
jptArchive Issue 19
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A Landmark Interdepartmental Collaboration
  • Tales of Tenacious Loyalty dept.
  • Tidings of Spirit and Cheer dept.
  • Files of Special Persons Known to
    jpt Persons dept.
The Occasion: The spirit and cheer illumining a tale of tenacious loyalty in the files of a special person known to jpt persons. This episode, we give you.........
The Appreciated Mechanic
Marjorie Hunt
Dear Interdepartmental Editor,
[This opening, above, is a fanciful editorial attribution to Ms. Hunt, as if she had intended or forseen her story's spanning of jpt departmental lines —IntDep Ed.]

My friend Martha Schafer visited me recently for a sort of reunion I host from time to time with my late husband's former students, or the best of them still alive and in touch. We spend our time talking and eating or drinking while telling stories or anecdotes to one another. These are usually old stories, but occasionally new. Of course, this time most of our talking was about Bill Schafer, one of the very best students my husband ever encountered at Earlham College. Meanwhile, Martha was scouting stories for the publication you shared with Bill. She leaned on me to send you one I told on the way home from a Delaware River restaurant. I'll comply reluctantly, though I really don't know why she was so interested in this.

I was driving my 1993 BMW with its rattles and its 272,000 miles and the subject of my enabling mechanic came up. I said my loyalty to him was endless, not because of his obvious skill, but rather because of his behavior one time two years ago. I suspected I was due for an oil change, so on my way to the gym, I stopped by his garage, because the mileage sticker telling me when the change was due appeared nowhere inside the well to the car door where I usually found it. My mechanic was busy when I parked at the curb outside next to his drive, but his wife was at the desk and she told me to check for a sticker in a corner of the windshield. This I did, by climbing into the passenger seat and leaning way over the wheel. But then, I couldn't see the odometer for comparison, so I turned the key to get the dashboard lights on. I drive a shift, and the car was in gear. It bucked, turned with the wheels into the drive, climbed a three-foot-high raised flower bed, and kept bucking while I scrambled to reach the driver's seat and the brake, mistaking the accelerator for the latter. Having demolished the flower bed, plunged down and smashed into a BMW that awaited its turn for an oil change. That new model BMW was set into motion and hit a Mercedes. The Mercedes hit another BMW. Finally I found the brake, and shakily stepped out of my own car which was now, though damaged, in the best shape of the lot.

Then I saw my mechanic running forward toward me rubbing his hands on his overalls.

He threw his arms around me and asked, "Are you all right?"

See why I'm loyal?

jptArchive Issue 19
Copyright 2011- WJ Schafer & WC Smith - All Rights Reserved