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Thursday, January 04, 2007

2 Paper Route: Semi-Spiritual Journeys of a Not Very Religious Man

Read Paper Route From the Beginning

Even though International Harvester left the automobile manufacturing business disgraced in abject failure, my father’s faith in his Scout II was unwavering. The fact that parts for repairs became more and more scarce only fueled my father’s faith in the Scout II. The scarcity of parts for him was like most people think of the scarcity of gold.

When the Scout II would break down, he took it on as a personal challenge to fix it. Now, it is important to understand the definition of “fixing.” My father was not a change-my-own-oil-take-it-apart-put-it-back-together kind of guy. He was more of a duct tape and bungee cord guy. Bungee cords held the muffler to the truck, duct tape fastened several parts together, and then there was the locking pliers that held the battery together. He had to fix the Scout II; it was his responsibility as one of the faithful to make sure the legend of the International Harvester Scout II lived on. His faith led him to heroic and sometimes desperate acts with common tools.

More than I ever wanted, my father brought me along with him on the paper route. One dark, rainy morning after grabbing a little something to eat at the McStop, we both hopped into the Scout II, dad with his coffee, and me with my soda. Dad turned the key – silence. Nothing. It didn’t turn over. It didn’t even click. In the dead of night, rain pounding down, the sound of silence was terrifying. The red and yellow glow of the McStop sign danced in the puddles of the empty parking lot. My anxiety shot up because I knew that there was no amount of duct tape or bungee cords that could get a truck going.

Dad didn’t miss a beat. He invented an impressive line of cuss words and then got out of the truck. He opened the hood, propped it up with a short 2 by 4, cussed some more, and headed to the back hatch of the truck and dragged out a dusty duffle bag. Soaking wet and in the dark, he found a locking grip pliers and headed back under the hood. Like a missionary undaunted by the elements, he was going to save the Scout II.

From my vantage point in the passenger seat I could see what dad was doing through an opening between the raised hood and the truck. All I saw was that he grabbed something with the pliers and locked the grip. He knocked out the 2 by 4 and let the hood fall hard. He got back into the truck and it started right up.

I literally cheered. He told me that the battery cable came loose from the battery and now it’s fixed.

Fixed. Curious. He thought it was fixed.

The pliers held for the entire duration of the paper route. In fact, it held so good that he just left it there for weeks. It was his faith that held the pliers in place.

Read Paper Route 3

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep writing on this topic. Our dad's were very similar.
Mine bought a new Ford F150 in 1959 and drove it until his death in 1981.
Len

Anonymous said...

What a great story!

(p.s. if you can't go into my xanga site, send me an invite and I'll put you on)

winsome one

Gallagher said...

Excellent! I am laughing the whole way....Keep them coming!

Gallagher said...

Excellent! I am laughing the whole way....Keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

Keep writing on this topic. Our dad's were very similar.
Mine bought a new Ford F150 in 1959 and drove it until his death in 1981.
Len