Before I get all worked up over a-hole #4, the A-hole of a-holes; the king of the shit pile; the a-hole(s) for the ages; the most arrogant coup in history, I gotta give credence to Angel #3: Peewee Johnson of Lake Vermilion.
My first trusted mechanic was John (who I have mentioned) of John’s Tonka Auto. He had a garage right around the corner from the house we moved into in Mtka. when I sold our (hobby) farm and we moved to town. As I mentioned, he wasn’t the friendliest, partially because he worked his ass off and was always busy, but he was trustworthy. I never worried about being over-charged or paying for something that didn’t need fixing. Felt the same about his mechanic, Bill, who took over for him. Sent my kids to him when they got cars of their own. My son has been fortunate enough to find a Bill of his own whom he trusts. I met him and would trust him as well.
But then, we moved up to Lake Vermilion. Found out right across our point road and down a bit was Peewee. Peewee was getting old but hung out in his huge garage with a hoist and all the tools working on the neighbors’ cars. For ten years I had peace of mind about my cars. Having been an investment guy, I hated spending money on cars…worst investment you can make. Most expensive thing you’ll probably ever buy that’ll end up worthless. So my cars are ‘experienced’ and need care: A 2005 Toyota Matrix all-wheel drive. My wife’s car. She loves it: a peppy little sport wagon with plenty of room and good gas mileage; a 2001 Toyota MRII Spider…a fun little mid-engine sports car with fantastic gas mileage. My car. And our work vehicle…hauling the boat every fall and spring, hauling garbage and recycling to the dump, etc…the 2002 Chevy Silverado pick-up.
Every summer I’d bring in our cars and Peewee’d go over them from bumper to bumper. Check everything. I keep good tires on and batteries in em, and even though there’s 65-75,000 miles on each, they’re trustworthy cars and Peewee made sure they stayed that way. Everybody on the point and near wanted to bring their cars into Peewee, but, I found out, he was selective. He didn’t work on just anybody’s car. The type of car didn’t matter. I believe it depended on whether you were willing to sit for a bit and shoot the shit. I’d tell my wife I was bringing a car to Peewee and she’d say “I’ll hold dinner.” Even it was lunch time. Peewee is quite the conversationalist.
Last fall when he left to go south, his eyes didn’t look so good. Peewee was going to turn 80. This spring I knew he was back, but his garage doors stayed shut. No Peewee. I finally called, didn’t want to bug him, but I figured something was up. Says, “Spent some time in the hospital. Not a good winter. Eyes are not so good anymore.”
I feel sorry for myself, loosing Peewee as my trusted mechanic. But I feel a lot worse for Peewee. His wings have slowed him down. I’m worried about him now. He’s gunna miss helpin everybody, hanging out and shootin the shit.