Exceptional Characters

Through the years, some of the most unforgettable friends you make are exceptional characters.  One character that sticks out in my mind was a man who was an engineer on the local radio station.

He came from down in the Ozarks.  My! How that man could play the fiddle.  He started playing fiddle music for dances when he was five years old.  When he was older, he would walk to town, bare footed, to play for a dance and play all night.  He was so shy, that when he played, he would turn his back to the audience.  In later years when he was old enough to drink alcohol, he would gradually turn his chair around, a little at a time, drink by drink, until he was finally facing the audience – fully loaded.  One of the boys who he played with when we knew him said that those guys that think they play better when they have been drinking only think so.

Eventually this man was given the opportunity to return to the Ozarks to set up a radio station; towers and all.  He had bought an old washer and dryer set that was broken down.  He had been intending to repair them for use.  I asked what he was going to do with the old appliances sitting there un-fixed.

He replied that the company that had hired him to build the radio station was paying him moving expenses.  He was just going to take the broken appliances with him when he moved, hoping to find the time to repair them at his new location.  We listened to him play one last time thinking we would probably never see him again, and said our good-byes.

Low and behold, five years later he came back to work for the local station again, having completed the construction of the station in the Ozarks.  The local station had paid for all his moving expenses, … Including the broken down washer and dryer and his fiddle.  We were very happy to have all of them back again.

Sometime later I asked him if he had ever got his washer and dryer repaired.  He said he had finally had time to take them apart and found the washer tub was leaking, … so he hauled them both to the dump.

I have done some work repairing appliances and rewiring and repairing electrical motors.  I found you really have to know what you’re doing, because it costs more than a new machine or motor.

The only real value in an old washer or dryer is if you keep them long enough for them to become antiques.  And that may be something of a characterization.