Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Daris Howard
Contributing Writer 

Life's outtakes


January 7, 2013

My wife and I decided we needed a new car for her to drive. It wasn’t that our little pickup had quit running or was having any mechanical problems. It was just that it had a tendency to choose to be an off road vehicle, even when we didn’t want it to.

This was because it was very light and it had rear wheel drive. When we would hit a slick spot, it would whirl around like a ballerina on pointe doing the black ice fairy dance. This inevitably took us into those off road excursions that were not of our choosing.

My wife, Donna, had fared the worst. I was usually lucky enough that when I ended up sliding, I was able to stay on the road. Sometimes I might hit into a fluffy pile of snow, the pickup showing no more wear for the experience. But Donna always had the misfortune of having the pickup make it a full contact sport with something immovable.

Her first experience was with a neighbor’s mailbox. The mailbox didn’t fare well, but the pickup ended up in even worse shape. I could hardly believe a little piece of tin could rip the whole length of the pickup and come out with only a few indentations.

My wife informed the neighbor of the mishap, but I was the one who, with tools in hand, tried to take the dents back out of it. I did the best I could, but when I finished it looked like... well, it looked like a mailbox that had been smashed and then straightened.

I told my neighbor that perhaps it would be better if I just replaced it. He checked it out and found that even though it was ugly, it still worked.

“Aw, heck,” he said. “I think you done did me a big favor. A new mail box is just aching for some teenagers to come along and smash it, but one looking like this they will most likely not waste their time on.”

That was when I first realized what good neighbors I have. No one ever got mad even when our pickup got temperamental and attacked something they owned.

Donna’s last episode was what scared us into deciding we needed something better for her to drive. The road looked clear and dry and she was rolling smoothly along when, suddenly, the horizon whizzed by as the pickup was spinning out of control. By the time she stopped, the pickup had totally leveled the neighbor’s log fence and was sitting in a pile of snow on the other side.

Donna figured her heart would never recover. The kindly neighbor hooked his tractor onto the pickup and pulled her out. Donna was so shaken up she didn’t even continue on her errand, but instead drove slowly back home. When she arrived, she was crying, afraid I would be upset that the pickup was bent up. I was just relieved to know she was okay, and told her it was just a pickup and could be replaced, but she couldn’t be. She cried some more and hugged me for my concern, then I headed on my way to talk to the neighbor to find out what I needed to do to replace his fence.

He didn’t get mad or anything. When I told him I would buy posts and poles and make it right, he just smiled and waved it off.

“Oh, shoot. There ain’t no need for that. Your wife just done me a big favor. I was wanting to pull that fence out, but I could never find the time. She just done did it in one quick move. Course I planned to pull it out one post at a time, but heck, her way worked just fine.”

Yes sir, I have good neighbors. But I still think we need a new car.


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