off the job. Indeed, he was so. He’d gotten off work early for the holiday, catching a ride home from a co-worker. There he began to work on the ten year-old 283 cube powered Chevy V-8 that had failed to start that morning.

 His mechanical experience taught to him by his father before the war, had caused him to work on tanks in the military. He was well qualified to tear into a timing gear replacement on the Chevy. The no compression spin of the engine had been the telling sign for him.

 Uncle Bud had already removed the radiator to gain easy access to the front of the engine. When I went into the garage the fan blades, belt pulley and water pump were about to come out. Seeing me come in, Bud stepped across the pit that he straddled to grin at me. The pit ran lengthwise beneath the Chevy. Considered somewhat unsafe by commercial garages and fire departments, the mud bottom of the pit lay like the oily, sticky crap from hell beneath the car and more... to almost the whole length of the garage bay.

As I told him about the new Mustang, he walked over to the garage door’s window. He looked out at the car and said, “It’s small. Don’t you have trouble getting in and out?
 Being quite tall, I said, “I need to back into the seat carefully. It takes practice. I’ll get used to it.”

 That was the total of Uncle Bud’s off-handed survey of my pocket rocket Mustang. He offered no questions about the drivetrain or interior options. He just turned and walked to the pot belly stove located in the middle of the garage. After throwing in a few small sticks of oak, he closed the stove door and adjusted the vents for best air flow. In doing so, he asked, “Do you remember how to stoke a wood fire?”

Remembering that he had taught me that art, I said, “Yes”

 You see, since my father worked an evening shift... often seven-days-a-week... my Uncle had seen me more often than my dad. He taught me how

Thankful… (cont’d)

to build a fire and do boy scout kinds of things. When I’d reached a proper age, he taught me to hunt. Since my mother hated firearms, I’d kept my 12 gauge shotgun at his house. Because I only owned a shotgun, he loaned me his .300

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