What would you do if you were confronted with a rat? I don't mean a friendly looking animal that Disney would draw such as the lovable mouse in the movie Stuart Little. I am talking about a mean, ugly, dirty, menacing rat!
Mike and Cindy were flying by the seat of their pants, taking a leisurely off-season vacation through the Smokey Mountains. Saturday morning arrived in pink streaks as the mountains could no longer hold back the sun. After breakfast Mike tried to start the car. The engine growled and groaned and refused to run. He tried again and again.
Acting as if he knew what to do, Mike raised the hood and was confronted by a snarling rat. Alarmed, he stumbled backwards. The rat was sitting on top of the engine. He got a stick and poked the rat that lunged off the engine, scurried across the fender and scuttled defiantly into the woods.
Mike called both dealers in the immediate area, no response, then a dealer 40 miles away. They only had sales staff on duty. The dealer said, "Well, I know this ole boy who lives about an hour or more from you that might help," he said
The sky darkened and a slow drizzling rain dampened their spirits as they despondently sat and waited. About two and one half-hours later, a mirage of rust and dents emerged out of the rain, lumbered down the street. The door of the ancient truck clanged open and Floyd the mechanic, with a smile bigger than all outdoors, creaked out. He carried his 73 years with honor and dignity. Looking at them through cracked and scratched glasses he said, "Hi y'all, are you the ones who called for a mechanic?"
"Yes, thank you for coming."
"Right here is your trouble. That danged rat chewed your sparkplug wires nearly in two and I don't have any with me. Ain't nothin' open in this place. I'll haffta go back to the dealer to get some. Be back shortly."
He was gone an hour and took another hour to replace the wires but the engine now ran like a precision watch.
Mike said, "Floyd, you just don't know how much we appreciate you coming out today to help us. We would have been stranded here for who knows how long." Then clutching his checkbook close to his heart and with the chill of expectation filling his stomach, he asked, "How much do I owe you?" Mike had mentally calculated the cost to be at least $600.
Floyd smiled and with rain dripping off the bill of his cap, he said, "Where y'all from?"
Cindy said, "We are from Indiana, near Indianapolis."
"Y'all just visiting down here?"
"Yes, we are and we are really enjoying ourselves. The colors are fabulous and the mountains are a nice change for us."
"Well, you don't owe me a thang. Them was used wires I found. I been in tight spots before and people helped me. You can pay me by helping someone else. Now you have a pleasant stay in our state, and come back sometime." And with that he banged the door shut on his rusty steed, and disappeared into the misty rain.
My website Larryvandeventer.com - Read about me, my books, and my columns. Larry Vandeventer grew up North of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State U. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.