Sunday, August 14, 2005

Two Cents

I've been listening to a lot of old country music lately, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson &ct. Whenever I do I think about back home.
I grew up outside of a little town in northeastern North Carolina. All the boys my age had dirtbikes... And we rode like maniacs. (I could hold mine up on 1 wheel for a quarter mile) I still wear the scars of some of our crazier days. I kept a bike longer than most of my friends. As they got their licenses and cars they quit riding, but I enjoyed the freedom of an open field or a country path under the big oaks and tall pines.
My Dad's first cousin, John, lived in an 1800's plantation house back in the fields. I could get to his house without ever seeing a paved road. He was probably in his 60's back then and I was 15 or so, but I spent a lot of time at his place. The stable behind his house was where my great grandfather bought the horse he rode during the war between the states. I still have a set of lead knuckles that were probably carried by John's grandfather in that same war I found in there. When I was a kid that barn was full af all kinds of cool stuff. The original pews and front doors from our church built in 1886. Farm implements of all types and eras. the flack jacket John's son Eddie wore in Vietnam. Studebaker hubcaps and so much more. John also had the great shop, and his radio was always tuned to the country station. He loved to woodwork, and could fix most anything he wanted to, so whenever I needed something fixed on my bike I'd show up to use his tools.
One afternoon the bolts holding the seat on my bike rattled loose, so on one jump over a ditch or something, it slid right out from under me. So, I put it back on and headed to John's house. I found a couple of bolts threaded right, and started to install them, when he said "Wait, you need washers on those things". He reached in his pocket and pulled out two pennies drilled through.
"What the hell is this?" was all I could think to say.
He said, and I quote "Er-uh, It'd cost me 5cents to buy washers that size at the hardware store, plus the gas to drive to town to go get 'em" (gas was almost up to a dollar a gallon back then)
I just laughed and put them on.
I'm not sure what made me think of that, god knows it was at least 20 years ago, but believe it or not, those pennies were still there when I sold that motorcycle.



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