|From our archives originally printed on March 13th, 1995.
Last night, I was reflecting on my mostly misspent life, (a form of self torture),
and realized that there are some things I will never learn to do. This has nothing to do with time running out. Were I to hang around until Willard Scott wished me Happy Birthday on the Today show, I would still never be able to learn to do certain things.
One is something I’ve tried to learn many, many times. I would love to be able to put my fingers in my mouth and let go with a piercing whistle. When a city dweller, I used taxis fairly frequently. Waving a hand wildly and shouting, “Taxi” always had good results, but how I would have enjoyed using the whistling technique. Lots of people have tried to teach me the art. i can whistle in the normal fashion quite well, even in tune, but cannot master the two or four finger whistle.
I want to be able to throw like a great baseball outfielder. Many times, in my dreams, I’ve played center field, throwing the ball to the catcher with the greatest of ease. It’s a wonder I didn’t throw my right shoulder completely out of whack when I was a kid. Being told I would never throw as well as a boy only made me try harder. I used to toss everything I could get my hands on, sidearm.
After watching Cindy Blodgett and the U.M. women’s basketball team beat Boston U the other night, I bemoaned the fact that I had spent so many years of hard work becoming a ballerina when I really have the heart and soul of a jock.
When I was in high school, girls were confined to playing games in gym class. Girl’s basketball then, was a sissy game. You couldn’t dribble the ball you had to skip with it and bounce it. I played guard, with lots of energy. The ballet paid off because I could leap higher than anyone else. It wasn’t too difficult to play guard. Most of the girls played half-heartedly so they wouldn’t disturb their hairdo’s. When I jumped in their faces, they would drop the ball and back off.
Another “I wannabe”, is automobile mechanic. Oh, if I could only fix my own car. Just yesterday, I had another frustrating episode involving my van. This contrary vehicle has started every morning, no matter how far below zero the temperature sank. Yesterday, in 45 degrees, it wouldn’t move.
i know enough to never flood an engine. After a few futile tries, I called my son and asked his opinion. “It is probably wet”, he said. “Go out, jiggle the batter terminals and put some baking soda on things.”
Going out, on tow crutches to fool with the engine was just more than I could handle. I called around until I found a wonderful neighbor who works on cars. He and a friend were at my door in not time.
“Do you have a pair of pliers?”, he asked. Not having been near my household too box in quite some time, I wasn’t sure, but I looked. My husband gave me a well supplied tool box years ago, which I cherished. I found it, in its usual place, in my bedroom. But, when I lifted it, my knees almost buckled, it was so heavy.
When I opened it, I almost wept. On the top was the inventory list I had made when I first received it, and a note said, “These are Mom’s tools. Use them or lose them on peril of death.” Evidently, no one has ever taken me or my threats seriously.
Nothing of the original list was there, including some beautiful needle nose pliers, I truly loved. I let the two mechanics rummage through the mess and they seemed to find what they needed.
“Would using a hair dryer help?”, I asked. They said it would. Of course, an extension cord would have to be used in order for the dryer to reach the engine. No problem. I’ve had three 100 foot cords on the back porch for years. I don’t remember how, or why we purchased them, but they are those orange, heavy duty cords that reach everywhere and can be used safely.
Not a one was to be found on my porch. The only thing out there was an old garage hanging light, loaded with electrical tape. It did, however, have a long cord and a place to plug in another cord. It served the purpose, the motor was dried, the darned thing kicked over. Fortunately, the auto experts were watching when it did and they discovered I had a hole in my fuel pump. This explained the heavy odor of fuel I had been experiencing for quite a while.
A trip to my automotive angels in their garage in Pittsfield was obviously called for. They checked out the pump and decided they didn’t want me to take any chances on the road with it, and a new pump was installed. They also filled my radiator which was low, fixed my right windshield wiper which shot cleaner out in a straight line instead of at the glass, and discovered my inspection sticker was last year’s. My car was immediately inspected and stickered.
I am not about to point too many fingers but, my kids used my car for months while I was incapacitated, and apparently, just drove it without paying too much attention to details. My two out of state sons have visited a couple of times and I never frisked them before they left. Could my extension cords be in Albany?