Don't Mince Words


Spare lessons of love and kindness

Posted on December 10, 2011 by Marna

Team Honda

I was already thinking of my dad this week.  It would of been his 90th birthday.  But when I had a tire blow out, the memories flowed more.

A year before I could get my learner’s permit, my dad would take me to the Montgomery Wards parking lot to practice driving.  It gave him an excuse to get out of the house and away from my mom and it let me learn three-on-the-tree and quick clutch action.  In addition to acquiring great manual-drive skills, he taught me how to check the oil, radiator, and change a tire.  This knowledge has kept me less dependent on shifty service station guys and AAA.

While I was driving two visiting Chinese coworkers south to Los Angeles, I heard the rumble and knew I had a flat.  I put my hazards on like dad taught me and coasted off the road.  We got out of the car and the right rear was a goner.  So, I popped the trunk, pulled out the full-size spare, the wrench, and the jack and set up shop.  My coworkers marveled at my mechanical abilities.

“Mah-nah, you know how to do a lot of things,” they said.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t even throw my weight into the lug wrench to move the nuts.  I was going to have to break down and call my tow service.  As soon as I grabbed my phone, two guys in a SUV pulled up.  One loosened the lug nuts as the other began the slow twist of the jack.  Within five minutes, my 101 pit crew had silently changed my tire.  When they were off the ground, I thanked them and gave them WetOnes to clean their hands and offered them $20 for beer.

“No, no. It’s OK.  Merry Christmas,” one replied.

When we pulled back on the highway, one coworker asked if they were “Mexican.”  I told them I thought so, but as far as I was concerned, they were helpful, just like my dad.

1 to “Spare lessons of love and kindness”

  1. rachael says:

    Made me cry my GrandFather who I lived after my Mom died as a kid taught me the same things. But my mom taught me to drive when I was 11 🙂



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  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 369 Posts, 128 Comments

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