Coffee heat rising

Who Was Joe Kelly? Can memories be inherited?

When I was a little kid, I lived about half my life in a fantasy world. Of course, I had to go to school, and so that dragged me out of Never-Never Land for seven  hours a day, maybe nine months a year. But that notwithstanding, about half to three-quarters of my waking hours were spent daydreaming and fantasizing. And no, I didn’t pay a whit of attention in school.

Because…you understand (this is not an exaggeration)…I already knew all that. What I didn’t know, I learned by reading the textbook and doing the homework. All the teachers did, academically, was rehash the information in the texts. Otherwise their job was to babysit, which they did honorably enough. Well. Except for their failure to protect the Weird Little Girl from being tormented by all the other little darlings in the classrooms.


Eventually I grew up and escaped from the mania of loneliness. This happened when we came back to the States. The kids in my new school in San Francisco had no idea I was the Odd Brat Out. They accepted me and were nice to me and made friends with me and never once tormented me with teasing and mocking and ostracizing.

The fantasy worlds in which I lived faded away. The jungle where I was a kind of female Mowgli, surrounded by solicitous large cats and a community of wolves: that went away. The alien worlds I explored in my spaceship: gone. The ancient Egyptian society where I lived as a young slave girl: buried under the pyramids.

Only one of the fantasy worlds persisted.

It was the story of Joe Kelly, an underage criminal who was busted for some vile crime, convicted, and — at the age of about 16 — sent off to San Quentin.

Quite an elaborate tale grew up around Joe, richly populated with characters ranging from prison guards to fellow convicts to the warden and the prison’s pastor. Joe was richly imagined.

I could tell you what he looked like. What he did. What he thought. How he reacted to people around him…on and on. And the world — the story — that grew up around him was also vividly, richly imagined. It was a persistent story, one that did not go away after we got back to America.

And I could tell you about Mac, the big, tough prison guard who took Joe under his wing and did his best to reform the kid.

All very nice…but…


Now, fly through time some six or eight years later. I’ve grown up and gone off to college. My parents have retired to Sun City. My father, not having anticipated a major recession, has gone back to sea to try to rescue his crashed retirement investments.

It’s a holiday break, so I’m home with my mother. And somehow — I don’t recall how — the subject of my father’s upbringing and his parents arises.

He was a change-of-life baby. His father decidedly did not want another kid to raise — so my mother’s story goes — and he asked his pregnant wife to abort the pregnancy.

She refused to do so.

Distraught, he ran off into the boondocks. Some months later he was found dead by the side of a rural Texas road. His death was deemed a suicide by the local hayseed sheriff.


In the course of relating this story, she also tells me that at one point in his life he had been a prison guard.


Now you no doubt know, as I do, how brutal Southern prisons were back in the Day. If he had been a guard in one of those august institutions, he would have made a lot of enemies. And what do you suppose would have happened if one of those fellas had come across him out in the Texas boondocks?

Yeah. Would’ve been easy to shoot him in the head, put the gun in or near his hand, let his horse loose, and take off into the sunset.


Obviously, he could have shot himself in the head. Hard to know, all these years after the fact. Hard to know what some small-town Texas sheriff could have known or figured out.

But the question is…where did the “Joe Kelly” fantasy narrative come from? Why would a little girl develop a story about life in a state prison? A men’s state prison…

Is it possible — even remotely possible — that my grandfather’s memories of his time as a prison guard could have been genetically handed down through my father?


O’course, it’s an unanswerable question. But it’s interesting. Intriguing.

Another day, another cuppa coffee…

Ohhhh-kayyyy…. Let’s see if WordPress will give us sane formatting today, or whether we have to jangle up our honored Web guru and make him crazy with whatEVER is going on.

Not that we’re not already crazy enough with whatever is going on. Do you still have the temerity to read the news? If so, how exactly DO you retain your grip on your marbles?

Here we are, busily charging a former (if incompetent, yes) president of the United States with THIRTY-SEVEN felony counts of what is basically a treasonous act. Oh, gooood….  Moving on (surely there must be someplace to move on to??)…

Meanwhile, the Republican Party worries that the Presidential Fiasco will come back to haunt them. Guys…if you didn’t want to have to handle a mess, why did you put a mess in the White House? 😀

We have our Native American brethren being (once again) madly ripped off by yet another huge Belagana scheme: hundreds of Navajo being exploited…and God only knows how many members of other tribes.

The Ukrainians are beating the bedoodles out of the Russians. That’s nice…I guess. Be careful who you pick a fight with next time, Vlad baby!

Our brats aren’t buying enough booze to support profits in the concert industry. Awwww….


Enough of that, already! Quite enough to prove that WordPress’s paragraph-break function is working again.


Meanwhile, as we discovered yesterday, the pool is decidedly NOT working. Swimming Pool Service & Repair’s guy surfaced (heh!) yesterday evening and made off with the pump. He figures it’ll take them about three days to fix it and get it back over here.

So far, the water hasn’t turned green. He said not to fuss with it: if algae starts to grow, just take a gallon of chlorine and walk around the pool’s perimeter, slowly dribbling the stuff in.

Ugh! Chlorine: not my favorite choice of drinks…. 😮


Dawdled wayyyyyyyyy too long to get out the door for Ruby’s morning doggy-walk. It is spectacularly hot and humid out there by 7:00 a.m. And the Doggy Jamboree was in full swing by the time we reached the Richistans.

Ruby wants to clear the earth of other dogs, a little characteristic of which other dog owners seem utterly oblivious. While I’m trying to keep my dog from eviscerating theirs, they’re cooing ohhhh don’t worry! they just wanna playyyyy! 

How does a species with so many stump-dumb stupid members manage to survive?

Ninnies of this sort had permeated the Richistans, so we doubled back and walked through the tract of 1960s ranch houses just to the north of ours.

Man! You do not even want to KNOW how much it must cost to air-condition those old piles. In the 1950s and 60s, power was not very expensive here. Consequently, houses and office buildings were never built with effective insulation…often not with any insulation at all. My son’s house, which is of that vintage, just about bankrupts him in the summertime, even when he jacks up the thermostat and has big floor fans blasting in every room.

Once the back yard…now the back porch of the back porch!

I remember my parents’ house in Sun City, each of whose walls was built of one layer of slump block. Period. Didn’t even have a slab of drywall inside, to pretty it up. Put your hand on one of those walls and you’ll burn yourself.

But…in those days, people didn’t stay in Phoenix over the summer. Without a doubt, Del Webb assumed his hordes of retirees would all drive back to Michigan and stay there in their RV’s between May and October. And many of those folks do. SDXB, who now lives in Sun City, does in fact clear out of the Valley for as long as he can, every summer.

My parents didn’t. They’d had their fill of living out of suitcases and driving back and forth across the country, what with my father’s Merchant Marine job and living in lovely Saudi Arabia. And yeah: that house got pretty hot in the summer. My mother jacked that AC so it never went off at any time of the day or night.

Here’s their house, photos taken during the last time it was on the market. It’s much modernized…didn’t have a dishwasher when we lived there, for example. The original screened porch along the back of the house has been enclosed, adding a nice dose of extra square footage to have to air-condition. They’ve laid down some reasonably decent tilework on all the floors– we had ugly carpets throughout.

My father! Just makes me cringe to look at this place and remember what he went through as my mother lay dying in one of those bedrooms.

That poor man. He worked SO hard, all of his life, just to build a comfortable, care-free retirement for them. And how thrilled he was to find Sun City! Boyboyboy: “no brats hollering outside your bedroom window when you’re trying to take a nap!”


Meanwhile, all the time my father was working like a mule, my mother was smoking herself to death. And what a way to go: just freakin’ hideous!

After he had “retired,” happily moved the two of them to a ghetto for old folks, and ensconced me in the University of Arizona (he got me into college a year early, for his convenience), his investments crashed. He’d put everything in insurance securities, which went down the tubes just a year or two after he had retired and deposited us in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. He lost his shirt and had to go back to work, to restore at least some of his retirement savings. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been for him. All his life he drudged away so that he could retire at the earliest possible moment and live happily ever after with his bride.

Who, we might add, really was the love of his life.

For his trouble, he got to attend her as she stumbled off to the Next World. And a mighty gawdawful trip that was.

As soon as she died — literally within days — he bought himself into Orangewood, a life-care community in the North Central district of Phoenix. It was ideal for him, because he was accustomed to institutional living and in fact liked it. My mother had refused to go, because a cramped little hole in a warehouse for old folks was not where she wished to spend the last years of her life.

Little did she know how few years she had…

Oh well. Forthwith he moved himself over there. And honestly, I think he would have been very happy at Orangewood had he not been instantly snabbed by the witch who seduced and married him. What a harridan! He didn’t know that until it was too late, though. Upshot: the last few years of his life were pretty damned miserable.

Keep that in mind: when you get old, don’t be in any hurry to lock yourself into a marriage. Nobody cares whether some old buzzard is living in sin with some old bat!

That house is lookin’ mighty good now — or at least, it was when those photos were taken. They enclosed the carport — which was on the west side of the building. Another layer of block plus a large space of empty air (garage) would cut the heat level in that living room, very nicely. They also enclosed the back screen porch, much enlarging the indoor living space.

And they added a dishwasher — my mother never had a dishwasher, in all the time she lived with my father…thirty-some years. All nice new appliances, very good. Ceiling fans: good. Those room air conditioners would have made it a LOT more comfortable for her…really, when you come down to it, it’s kind of odd they didn’t think of that. But then again, maybe not: they bought central air-conditioning to have central air-conditioning, after all. The bathrooms are basically the same, no doubt with updated fixtures. That gawdawful Pepto-Bismol pink tile in the back bathroom was the height of style when they moved in!

Really, if there just weren’t SO many unhappy memories associated with that place, right now today I would seriously consider buying it.

Where Ya Gunna Go?

So I’m visiting the Albertson’s down at the corner of Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South. Normally I won’t go in there because I don’t enjoy being panhandled in the parking lot (once I had a bum actually chase me, at a dead run, across the parking lot). Yesterday, though, I wanted a roll of masking tape and, the Albertson’s being a huge general store as well as a grocery store, figured I could find it there.

Plus the store (or maybe the mall owner) has hired an armed guard, who’s posted outside the market’s front door. So I feel fairly confident that if I park close to the front door and walk directly in — and do not carry a purse slung over my shoulder! — I’m probably going to get in and out with a minimum of pestering.

My father would’ve liked that Albertson’s. Because it’s fairly huge, it carries a vast array of products, from pharmaceuticals and personal care products, to house and auto care products, to…of all things…food. But I can tell you for sure he wouldn’t have shopped there, because of the number of black folks who habituate the place. He was, as he liked to crow, “a bigot and proud of it.” The vast blocks of working-class apartments across the street are very similar to the ones where we lived in Southern California…well, except for the black folks. My mother would’ve been outta there like a rocket the instant the first dusky face surfaced. Whereas my father openly bragged about his expertise as a hater, my mother generally kept her mouth shut about her bigotries. But like him, she also lived by them. She wouldn’t have moved into our lily-white neighborhood because of the number of African-Americans dwelling right across the huge main drag that separates the ‘Hood  from the apartment blocks up here.

So as suggested, my father would’ve loved that store…it would have appealed to his workin’class genes. But my mother?… She probably would have thought of it as I do: fine in a pinch, but lacking in some aspects that one would like to have for shopping on a regular basis. Nevertheless, neither of them would have shopped there (or lived here, we might add…) because of the number of black folks among the customers.

My problem with that store, though, is that even though it’s huge and even though it carries most things you’d like to have, its offerings are kinda boring. Prepared foods are by and large additive-laced schlock. AJ’s, it is not. And…if there’s something you want right now and you went there because you were pressed for time and didn’t want to drive halfway to Timbuktu to get it at a Walmart or the Safeway, you can be sure they won’t have it.

On this particular trip, what I wanted was a roll of masking tape.

How hard is this? Masking tape.

Searched from pillar to post.

No masking tape. Picked up a couple of incidental items, though — a chunk of cheese, some fresh produce. But having found no masking tape I was flying down an aisle toward the checkout where…hallelujah! There on a bottom-most shelf next to the floor was one, count it (1) roll of masking tape. Not the blue type that I favor. But was I going to drive across the city to score a role of BLUE masking tape?


Out the door, much relieved not to have to schlep to the paint store.

Albertson’s armed guard lurks outside the door, where he oversees the customers’ and the bums’ comings and goings. This is a considerable improvement — in fact, it is THE reason I will go into that store these days. Once a panhandler actually chased me across the parking lot there, at a dead run. With a hired cop-like creature out front, that kind of thing is a lot less likely to happen.

Though…well…yeah. The last time I was there they had a shooting in that parking lot, in front of the block of buildings that houses the T-Mobile store.

Guess you can’t have everything, hm?

Key Shopping Accessory

Memories…of pure terror…

You’ve been watching the coverage of the tornadoes scouring their way across the south, no doubt? The best reporting, IMHO, is coming in over YouTube — especially from the storm chasers. Fox has also had some first-rate coverage. What hair-raising stuff!

My Texas aunt and uncle lived on the fringe of tornado alley. Once Aunt Audie described standing on the front porch of what no doubt was a wooden or brick farm house and watching a funnel cloud pass by a mile or two away.

Did they not have a storm cellar? Dunno…at the time she recited this story, I’d never heard of such a thing — we were Californians living by the mild, pacific shore of the Persian Gulf — so it didn’t occur to me to ask. But they probably did: rural families had root cellars in which they stored food and other perishables, a category that presumably would have included themselves if a tornado touched down in the front yard.

Rarely did we see much rain, there at the edge of the Rub al’Khali, a desert whose barrenness it would be hard — maybe impossible — to describe to a comfortable, untraveled American. But once we did see such a thing.


It was late in the afternoon. I was a little girl, maybe eight years old (give or take), and all excited and amazed to watch the afternoon skies suddenly turn almost as dark as night as heavy clouds barreled in. What my parents thought, I do not know: they were not given to sharing their concerns (if they had any) with a kid.

A dune landscape in the Rub al Khali or Empty Quarter. Straddling Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen, this is the largest sand desert in the world.

We lived in a strip of company houses, two- and three-bedroom brick  bungalows that the Company (that would be ARAMCO) had lined up in tidy rows, extending from the beach about…maybe…a third to a half of a mile inland. All of them housed White, mostly American company employees and their families.

This particular afternoon, a truly fierce rainstorm blew in, sometime on the far side on noon. The sky grew dark…that was fun. And then…gosh! It grew more than dark. Black, it was: almost black. Dark, dark gray. Lightning flashed. Thunder rolled, and the wind began to howl. I thought it was evening.

But it wasn’t.

My mother tried not to look scared. But she looked scared.

She told me to stay back away from the windows. I didn’t understand what she was talking about, but knowing that disobedience meant getting swatted into the middle of next week, I stayed back away from the windows.

It got darker outside.

My father was a stoic sort of a guy. In his world, any display of emotion other than amusement was unmanly. But you couldn’t miss that he was watching. That he was quiet.

The rain thundered down, torrents of water falling out of Ras Tanura’s normally soggy blue air. It poured by the barrel-full off the house’s eaves.

Lighting flashed.

Thunder roared.

A waterfall tumbled out of the black sky.

It didn’t last very long. At least, to my kiddish mind it didn’t. Shortly the storm ceased. The rain stopped pouring down. The lightning flashes drifted away.

I wanted to go out and play.

“NO!” came the answer.

We hung around in the house.

Before long, though, neighbors began to call.

Did you know…?

Did you see…?

Did you hear…?

Are you OK?

The wind blew down trees.

The water flooded roads. And parking lots. And yards.

The Hatches’ roof blew off. No, they weren’t hurt. Yes, they were all OK.

Other homes lost their roofs, but those houses hadn’t belonged to the families of a childhood pal like my friend Ennis Hatch.

The docks were OK.

No tankers had run aground.

Rahima, the Arabs’ nearby native village, was flattened.

The airport was shut down.

The road to Dhahran was closed.

. . . and . . . how CAN i count the ways i’m glad i don’t live there anymore?

We had to stay in Arabia because my father had a contract with Aramco, renewable every two years. He was paid handsomely to wrangle oil tankers in and out of the docks there. But sometimes I wonder about Americans who live in the path of horrific storms like the ones we’ve seen this week, here in this country.

True: one gets sot in one’s ways when one is born and raised in a given place. But after you’ve seen one set of storms like the ones that hit this week, wouldn’t you be inclined to move out of the area? Why stay where your home, your livelihood, and even your life are at risk from something as ubiquitous as the weather?

This, I suppose, is why we have so many people in California, Chicago, New York, and waypoints. But still…sometimes one wonders.

Yea verily: what a thing to see! What  thing to contemplate!

How D’you Know When It’s Time to Go?

When the response to a call to your doctor’s office in which you remark that you hurt so much you’re contemplating a flying leap off the North Rim elicits, in response, a telephone call from a machine(!!)…that’s when you know you’ve outlived your time on this earth.

Yep: Time to go…we’re definitely gettin’ there.

My mother killed herself. Not in an obvious way: she smoked herself to death. Quite deliberately. She knew better than to puff down six packs a day. She knew exactly what she was doing. She worked at it for years after the U.S. Surgeon General explained to the American public, in words of one syllable, what any amount of tobacco smoking will do to you. With that knowledge in hand, did she cut down on the puffing?


She doubled up.

I’ve thought for a very long time that she killed herself on purpose.

Do I think my father’s father was murdered out on the side of a rural Texas road, early in the 1900s, as the story has it? Or did he commit suicide, too?

My money’s on the latter. He ran away from his wife because she refused to abort a late-life pregnancy: my infant father. Apparently he regretted not only having impregnated her (if indeed it was he who did so) but also having abandoned her and the yet-to-be infant.

That’s one way to look at it.

He’d been a prison guard. If you know anything about what US prisons were like at the turn of the 20th century — especially in monstrously backward venues like Texas — you could easily imagine one of his former wards stumbling across him as he sat by his campfire. Doing him in. Making it look like suicide.

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it
If I please

How have I had it? Let me count the ways.

We live in a dystopia. No doubt he did, too.

It must have been difficult, living in a dystopia out on a remote frontier, wedded to a Choctaw woman in a society whose leitmotif was hatred of the Other.

Dirt road in the Texas boondocksBut one never knows. There he was, sitting by a campfire out in the middle of nowhere, noplace much to come from, noplace much to go to. Offing himself would have made sense. But, given how brutal my father could be, it makes just as much sense that some guy the old man had made an enemy of happened along, out there in the middle of nowhere, and took advantage of the opportunity. If the guy treated his prisoners the same way my father was given to treating children…well…yeah.

HowEVER…the story my mother told me — and presented as the story she’d heard from him — doesn’t add up. She said the father ran off after he learned his wife was pregnant and she refused to abort the pregnancy. However, it would appear that he didn’t die until 1927.  If that’s true, my mother’s bit of folklore doesn’t make any sense: my father was born in 1908. By January, 1927 he was 19 years old.

Isn’t that weird? I wonder where she got that tale.

She said that was what he had told her. Did she never question his story? Did he lie to her? Did someone lie to him? Why on earth would they have told a child a thing like that?

And if that old cowboy offed himself, how did he know it was time?

The Automotive Jamboree

Dawn cracks (barely), and here we are down at Camelback Toyota, summoned hither by a recall involving nonfunctional airbags.

How could I do without this? Let me count the endless number of ways….

Appointment is 7 a.m. I pulled up to the driveway at about 6:50. There are 16 cars ahead of me – four in each lane – and I expect to be sitting here until the cows come home. And then to sit in the dealership’s waiting room until the cows go back out to pasture.

Sometimes Toyota has drivers who will take you back home. But it’s hard to see how they could manage that, with this mob in the pipeline.

This pisseth me off. The REASON you buy a Toyota instead of a Ford is not to have to deal with the recalls for shoddy construction.

When DXH and I were first married, I had a Ford FairLemon that my father had given me as a graduation gift. We lived in the apartments just to the north of this dealership, which at the time belonged to Ford. Our car was parked at this place more than it was parked in our carport space! So it was convenient that I could walk over here, since I was walking over here all the time.

* * *

And here I yam, already, waiting for a red Hyundai to come pick me up at the side door. Better than sitting in their waiting room for hours and hours, but…I sure as hell could do without it. The wait will be ample anyway, since it’s 7:30…though it must be said that the traffic is minimal for this time of day. I expect the plague is keeping people working at home.

Think o’that: coming up on high rush hour., Friday morning and there’s hardly any traffic on 16th Avenue, a main drag from north Phoenix to the central and southerly business districts. Looks like businesses are not reopening anytime soon…

Matter of fact, my son’s company announced they were not reopening their (expensive!) offices, but that henceforth employees will work from home. He’s not happy, because he would rather be in a more social setting. If it were me, I’d be beside myself with joy: work-from-home is exactly what I wangled for myself by founding ASU’s online courses in English & American Studies. Once I had all my courses online, I rarely had to trudge in to the campus. Which was just fine with me.

* * * *

And NOW here I am, ten minutes to 8:00, and parked – by golly! – in the living room. That Toyota dealership is INCREDIBLY efficient. Rolled in, handed the key over, got picked up by an uber-type jalopy, and delivered back to the house in 20 minutes.

Think o’that.

When we drove up, the garage door was hanging open. Alarming, because I don’t habitually go off and leave the door open. Nor would I have done so: there would have been no reason to walk out into the front yard through the garage as dawn cracked. So either I dorked up and left the door open all night(don’t think so! I’ve been doing laundry in the garage this a.m. and would’ve noticed if the door was hanging open) or someone has a door opener button that works on my garage opener.

So, dammit, I guess I’ll have to call the garage door guys and have them recode that thing.

Jayzus. Never a dull moment.

Well, I expected to spend the whole day sitting in Toyota’s waiting room, so…if you have to be carless in Gaza, better to be carless in your own precinct of Gaza.


My father used to use “car tune-ups” to get away from his obnoxious wife. He would tell her he was taking his aging Ford down to the dealership to be worked on – and at Ford, an all-day wait was not only likely but inevitable. But what he was doing was sitting in the parking lot smoking. And stinking up the car.

One day she remarked to me, laughing, “He thinks I don’t know he’s smoking in the car.”

I refrained from replying, “He doesn’t give a damn whether you know he’s smoking in the car.”

But the poor woman was so stupid that it was unreasonable to expect that she would figure it out.

Gawdlmighty… Other people’s lives!

Mine, too, I suppose. They certainly made their exploits part of my life.

As soon as my mother died – practically instantaneously – my father packed up the house, donated everything he didn’t absolutely need, and moved himself to what was then called Orangewood, one of the first “life-care communities” to hit Arizona. Dreary place, IMHO…but then I never cared for institutional living – three years in the dorm (plus 11 years in public schools) was as much of that as I ever want to endure . He, having gone to sea all his adult life, was well adapted to communal life. He not only didn’t seem to dislike it; if anything, he enjoyed it. Or he would’ve, if he hadn’t been snabbed by Helen.

All the widows (which meant almost all the women inmates) at Orangewood were on the hunt for men. The instant my father walked in the door, Helen went in for the kill. She grabbed that guy before he could sit down.

Within a few months, she wrangled him into proposing to her, a huge mistake on his part.  She was SUCH a nitwit. And though my father pretended to be stupid – it was part of his working-class macho pose – he was anything but.

However, whatever smarts he had went out the door after my mother died, and so he allowed himself to be maneuvered into marrying her. This was such a disaster that at one point he took to renting a room at another old-folkerie. He would tell her – yep! – that he was taking the car to be serviced, and then repair to his secret flophouse and spend the day watching TV from a Levitz recliner.

What a witch that woman was! But he refused to divorce her because…uh huh…what would everyone think?

Life: William Shakespeare couldn’t come anywhere close to making it up!

Speaking of servicing the car, I let myself be persuaded to have Camelback Toyota change the oil and rotate the tires. That was redundant, since Chuck’s successors recently did that. But offhand I couldn’t remember how long ago that was…and frankly, I wasn’t especially impressed the last couple of times I took the car to Chuck’s.

Pete took over the business, as Chuck had been grooming him to do for years. Very good. But…now that the place is his, there’ve been some changes made….

Chuck ran that shop like a small-town garage. He knew everybody and everybody knew him. If you brought your car in to be serviced early in the morning, Chuck or one of the underlings would drive you home. Later in the day, they’d come pick you up. Now you sit an hour or three in their run-down waiting room listening to the traffic roar by on 7th Street.

Also, that time a tire got a nail in it and I was running nearly flat, Chuck would NEVER have said “we don’t do tires…take it up on Camelback to Discount Tires.” They would have taken the nail out and fixed the flickin’ tire! If a new tire needed to be purchased and they didn’t have one on hand, he would have had one of the underlings go pick one up. Basically Pete just tossed me out.

Sooo….I had already pretty much decided to look elsewhere for routine car service. And this morning I believe I found the “elsewhere.”

Good old Chuck. To my mind, he defined the term “good man” — possibly even “great man.” His wife had debilitating health problems for some years toward the end of her life. He stuck with her and took care of her himself, every inch of the way. Meanwhile, hanging onto the business — kept it thriving.

At any rate… Pete lost a customer over a rusty nail. And Camelback Toyota gained a customer over a recall, a short wait and a ride home.

* * * *

A-a-n- the postscript:

The hour coming on to 3 p.m., I call Camelback Toyota to find out how (or if) they’re doing on the Venza’s airbag issue. They claim it takes 8 hours to replace the side airbags.

Uh huh. Well…izzat so?

Look up the problem on the Great Treasure Chest of Knowledge: the Internet. hmmm…

Quite possibly not so…

It appears that what’s needed is to check the wiring, which may or may not need work. This, we’re told, takes about an hour. And….yeah…judging by this PDF, replacing the side airbags (if it’s necessary, which it isn’t necessarily) could be a time suck.

Hmmm. Looks like you have to be sure they put the thing back together right…

Confirm window, mirror, speaker, and door lock operation
Confirm interior door handle opens.

Confirm initializations have been performed

Better write this stuff down and remember to check those things BEFORE leaving their lot.

It’s 3;30 in the afternoon. The car has been there since 7:30. Yep: that’s 8 hours. Sooo…where is it, fellas?