Sunday, August 28, 2016

Thanks to all the Jimmys in the world

You may or may not believe in angels. As a child I did. Of course as an adult I knew better. But now I'm not so sure.

Today I was headed for Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. If the beauty of the park compared to the Ceilidh (pronounced Kaylid) Scenic Trailway I was on, I can hardly wait. 

Or rather, I can hardly wait if there are no more problems. This afternoon while driving I heard a tinny, rattling sound. I pulled off to see what was the matter. Oil was OK. Coolant was OK. Wait. What's that thingy hanging down? Am I going to need road service yet again?!

Closer examination revealed that the thingy was a heat shield (thin piece of metal) that had come loose at one end. If I could reattach it I should be good to go. 

Now being in my home on wheels, I have a pretty complete assortment of tools and stuff. However my mechanical skills aren't even up to those of a stereotypical blond so undeservedly abused in jokes. Even so I could see that all that was needed was to reattach the thingy.

The marshmallow fork
Problem. Reattach it with what. This thingy was going to get very hot. All I could find were plastic ties – the kind that would melt in the oven to say nothing of next to a hot exhaust pipe. Searching all the compartments I found some metal marshmallow sticks. Perfect.

Under GrandpaLyle's Ark I go to twist this very stiff, but very heat resistant, wire around the thingy to hold it up. It went into place just fine, but twisting it was like bending a fork. Nearly impossible. Especially for one who's fingers get most of their exercise at a keyboard. 

While I'm grunting away underneath the Ark I heard a gentle voice, "Looks like you've almost got that heat shield back in place." Angel Jimmy had arrived from out of nowhere. I slid out to greet him and we chatted about my problem.

Jimmy offered, "Would you like me to give it a try?" 

For a moment my male pride balked, but only for a moment. "Please do," I replied.

Exhaust pipe repaired with the marshmallow fork!
Jimmy was a real man but as he twisted the fork tighter and tighter he kindly commented on how hard it was to bend. When all was done, we chatted a few minutes, I thanked him profusely, then he walked back up the hill and I went on my way.

Before starting off again, I looked at my phone. Just as I was crawling under the Ark, Marie had sent me a text, "Just checking that you are fine. You are, right?" This from more than two thousand miles away. Did another angel tell her that I was in trouble?

Are these just coincidences . . . or the work of angels? I don't know . . . but I'm believing in angels more every day. 

P.S. To all the Jimmys in the world, "Thank you for being angels in our lives."

160828-Thanks to all the Jimmys
Mileage: 90,981
Miles today: 230
Location: Mabou, NS
Facility: Ceilidh Cottages and CG

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When old friends become new friends

The view from Willie Mims's and Pat's deck. Twice a day
 that bay rises and falls more than fifty feet!
Yesterday I had the delightful experience of renewing a friendship that had languished for a looooooong time. Other that a couple brief visits, I hadn't seen Willie Mims since we graduated way more than fifty years ago (actually I seem to recall his hame is Jim Wolford but he was Willie Mims sixty years ago and will be to me for the rest of our lives.) In high school we were inseparable and we remained close through college, but Mims went on to graduate school in western Canada and I never left home in Park Ridge. As if that weren't distance enough, a few years later he moved to somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. In an era of snail mail and pricey long distance calls we lost touch.

But not forever. Old friends are often the best friends and upon renewing our acquaintance what we had all those years ago came alive once again. This time was even better. In the intervening years, Mims had become an expert in all things living. As we drove around Wolfville, Nova Scotia, he not only gave me a guided tour of his remarkably beautiful part of the world, he pointed out beaches and islands that vanished under more than fifty feet of sea water then reappeared twice a day as the highest tides in the world ebbed and flowed. When the tide was out the sand (mud really) beach was home to millions of creatures ranging from microscopic organisms to birds feasting for their flight to South America.

One of many spectacular views where farming and wild life abound. Did I
 mention that bay rises and falls more than fifty feet twice a day!
While driving around we spotted a half dozen different kinds of hawks searching for their next meal. And Mims knew every one . . . and its feeding habits . . . and its life span . . . and everything else about it. I think he called a few of them by name. At least a dozen bald eagles majestically soared overhead – often so close I felt as though I could reach out and touch them.

All this in the company of my high school singing buddy . . . now a retired biology teacher at Acadia University. Wow! What a day. Thanks, Willie Mims. Or do I have to learn to call you Jim? Nah.

P.S. As a bonus, Jim's mate, Pat, served one of the few home cooked meals I've had while on the road. Thanks, Pat. It was delightful getting to know the one so dear to my old friend.