Thanks, Dad

The car wasn’t working. What a beautiful machine, reduced to helplessness. Panic, alarm, can’t go back to work of course.

Father to the rescue, hallelujah.

“On the farm I had a tractor break down one day,” he says. “I still had ten acres of baling to do.”

Puts things in perspective.

“I found another tractor with the same kinds of parts. I ripped into it and took out what I needed.”

I imagine the other tractor’s feelings. What an invasion and a sacrifice, to give some part of yourself like that, even temporarily.

“I got the baling done by 8:30. This reminds me of that.”

A frantic chase for a new battery, punctuated with a reunion with a high school friend from 1973, interactions with three separate Wal-Mart employees (There are two kinds of people in the world, those who ask store clerks for help and those who don’t. I’m the second one, he’s the first one.), including Eunice whose patience was worthy of admiration, and a number of trips back and forth to the car that I couldn’t count.

“The right tool for the job! It makes all the difference.”

“This is creative work.”

Lines from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance are an appropriate accompaniment to this event.

Pay attention to quality. Maintenance requires great peace of mind. Quality is achieved when the mind and the machine are at rest. If you’re not careful, you’ll work your own problems right into the machine.

“Thanks for coming, Dad.”

“Well, I was just finishing up work and was getting ready for my flute labyrinth walk tonight and about to take a nap, but I’d rather be here with you anyway… you know?”

Thanks, Dad.


Kevin McGillivray

Kevin McGillivray is a web developer, painter, and writer in Wisconsin. He writes about creativity, online and offline neighborhoods, and vegetables. He paints and dives.

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