Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

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sasha
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Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by sasha » December 1st, 2021, 5:21 pm


I am perhaps the least mechanically inclined person I know. My father was an engineer, and so is my brother - but even after 35 years spent in engineering shops, I find what goes on under the hood of a car as inscrutable and daunting as the inner workings of my own bowels. I'm more comfortable in the abstract world of engineering mathematics. So when my car refused to start last Saturday, I did one of the two things I know how to do in such a contingency - I asked a neighbor for a jump.

I'll do the work, I assured her. I've got the cables, I've done this before - all you've got to do is pop the hood, & sit in your car for a few minutes listening to the radio while I patch your battery into mine.

Easy-peasy. Except when all this was done, it was clear that the problem did not involve the battery.

The other thing I know how to do is change a tire, and I didn't think this was the issue. Fortunately for me, her husband owns & runs an automotive repair shop down in Massachusetts, and she was sure he'd be willing to drop by some time to take a look. In the meantime, she handed me the key to her Subaru and said I could keep it for as long as it took to get the Honda back on the road.

Grateful & more than a little humbled, I accepted the offer.

Later that same day, she & her husband arrived and quickly determined that the alternator had frozen up. He figured he could get a replacement at wholesale, and offered to install it himself.

Game on....

I heard back from them on Monday. He had found an alternator I could have for $100, which he would swap for the defective unit sometime later in the week. Now you've got to realize that his guy puts in at least 8 hours a day, and at this time of year the sun sets at 4:00. And snow showers were in the evening forecasts for the next few days. I suggested that as far as I was concerned, it could wait until the weekend. "We'll see," he said.

We all know what "We'll see" means...

The next night there was a knock on the door. I had just sat down to supper, for which I had shed my street clothes for warm undies, a bathrobe, & bedroom slippers. She greeted me with a smile while clutching a professionally sized socket set. "Just thought we'd let you know he was able to get the alternator," she brightly informed me. Behind her he was bending over the gaping maw of my car's open hood, groping in his own shadow cast by his car's headlights. A light snow had begun to fall. "Could I have a 9/16?" he asked. She returned to his side to scrub, but all I could do was stand in the doorway and watch. I didn't even know enough to give useless advice; I couldn't even offer them a beer, as it was clear they already had that base covered. They'd expressed a disinterest in Guinness anyway.

Reimbursement for the device was just assumed, but I had already decided that to offer them cash for their labor as well would be a little awkward, if not downright crass; so I'd decided instead to gift them with the chocolate bar I'd recently purchased from the little cannabis shop a few miles south of the MA/NH border. (I knew they partook because on two previous occasions, I'd returned home to find a tightly rolled joint tucked into the handle of the front door.) In the meanime, I could do little more than watch from my doorway as they struggled barehanded in the dark and cold and lightly sifting snow to unbolt the old alternator from its nest near the bottom of the engine block, and bolt the replacement in place. I tucked off to the kitchen to get the chocolate bar, and set it by the door.

When it became clear that the job was nearing successful completion, I finally thought of something I could actually do for them. I left my post once again, this time to fetch the largest steel kitchen bowl I had, drop two hand towels into it, and fill it the rest of the way with hot water. I knew how cold my own hands had gotten while changing a flat tire on a sleety night; I could imagine how his must have felt after fumbling around deep in an icy engine block on the last night of November in New Hampshire.

I was making my way back to the door trying not to spill too much water when I heard a whoop of delight and the sound of an engine starting. I set the bowl next to the magic candy and peeked outside. He was shutting the hood of my car, and she was picking up his tools. Steam issued from my car's exhaust, and its headlights shone out into the night as if it had just awakened from a coma. "Awesome!" I enthused. "I can't thank you enough!"

"That's what neighbors are for," she said.

I showed them the chocolate bar. "I've got something for you," I said. "This is no ordinary chocolate bar, and I'd like you to have it - but not until you've warmed your hands." I set the bar down and wrung out each of the towels, handing them out as I did. They wasted no time wrapping them around their aching hands. "This is just like the spa," he joked.

"You've earned it," I said, as we exchanged wet towels for dry.

So for $100 (plus whatever I'd dropped for the edibles) I've got a working automobile once again. I don't think I've ever paid that little when I've taken my car in for service. I really wish I could have offered them more than just a THC candy bar... If they ever have the need to perform a nonlinear regression on an unruly data set, I'll be right there for them.

.
"Falsehood flies, the Truth comes limping after it." - Jonathan Swift, ca. 1710

saw
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Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by saw » December 4th, 2021, 8:44 am

fabulous story......you should submit it somewhere.....well written and just a damn good tale !

Stories like this encourage me to keep going....trust in the goodness in people....it outweighs all the other bullshit on the front page.....and you came up with the perfect compensation.....bravo

kudos !

cheers !
If you do not change your direction
you may end up where you are heading

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sasha
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Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by sasha » December 4th, 2021, 12:29 pm

Thanks for the positive review! This same couple are avid hunters, and have some experience in tracking - so they volunteered to follow my dog's trail in the snow the day after he went missing. They followed the track for nearly a mile before they lost it amidst cluster of similar tracks - most likely made by coyotes, or possibly wolves. I've always wondered if they really lost the trail, or if they found something they weren't sure I'd want to know about, but after all this time, it doesn't seem especially moot.
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"Falsehood flies, the Truth comes limping after it." - Jonathan Swift, ca. 1710

saw
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Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by saw » December 4th, 2021, 6:11 pm

too bad about the dog...either way.....sad to lose a friend that way......they have dogs that are trained to wake you if the smoke alarm is going off.....that's tempting
If you do not change your direction
you may end up where you are heading

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judih
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Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by judih » December 4th, 2021, 11:03 pm

what amazing neighbors! I agree with Steve, this needs to be submitted. Maybe to Ray Soulard's Cenacle?

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sasha
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Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by sasha » December 5th, 2021, 2:24 pm

saw wrote:
December 4th, 2021, 8:44 am
......you should submit it somewhere.....

judih wrote:
December 4th, 2021, 11:03 pm
I agree with Steve, this needs to be submitted. Maybe to Ray Soulard's Cenacle?

We'll see..... :wink:

(I'll post it at AC - maybe it'll catch his eye over there....)
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"Falsehood flies, the Truth comes limping after it." - Jonathan Swift, ca. 1710

saw
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Joined: May 23rd, 2008, 7:32 am
Location: B'more, Maryland

Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by saw » December 7th, 2021, 8:20 am

sometimes when we are lucky, and perhaps tuned in, our real life is better than fiction.... 8) 8) 8) 8)
If you do not change your direction
you may end up where you are heading

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stilltrucking
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Re: Do Stone Walls Count as Fences?

Post by stilltrucking » December 7th, 2021, 4:52 pm

A good read thank you for writing. 8)

It would be a great piece to submit to Reader's Digest™ "Life in These United States section" :wink:
No really have they ever updated that magazine to the 21st century.

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