Sunday, May 28, 2017

Raise High The Bumpers, Boys

  My brother's wooden bumper came to our place in the summer of 1978.  Bill had driven his 1966 VW out to Minnesota to visit us. He was living on an island in Maine, renting an old one room schoolhouse and making his living digging clams. He kept his car on the pier in the town of Stonington. The car had electrical problems. Sometimes it wouldn't start. If he could get it rolling he could jump start it. Once running, it would not stop till he turned off the key. He told of having to recruit bystanders to help get the car moving in the morning. He always tried to park on a hill.
  When Bill bought the car it lacked a front bumper. He found a nice piece of oak, cut a small heart out of the center and bolted it in place,
  Bill stayed with us for a couple of weeks and headed back to Maine on a cool. cloudy weekday morning. A couple of hours after he left, I got a call from a UPS driver. He had come across Bill, broken down near the south edge of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. He had blown a cylinder. I strapped our one year old son into his car seat and headed south. Bill was in fairly good spirits when I found him. After all, this could have happened in Ohio. I towed Bill back to Wannaska with a long length of rope. There were no VW mechanics in Roseau so Bill bought an old Ford sedan. We took the engine out of VW and put it his trunk. The plan was for him to get the engine repaired back east then reinstall it in his VW and start for home again.
  Well he never did get the engine repaired and so the VW sat in the backyard to be mowed around for several years. He said I could do whatever I wanted with the car, but asked me to save the oak bumper. The church in Wannaska held fund raising auctions for a few years. People donated stuff they didn't want. I submitted an index card with information about Bill's VW declaring the lack of an engine. I was surprised when someone bid a dollar for the car. Oh, the car also lacked front axles. I had let a friend cut them off for a log splitter. I was gratified when the new owner arrived with a trailer to haul Bill's car away. Off course I had already unbolted the bumper and stored it in the garage.
  We visited the family out east every year but our car was too small to accommodate the bumper. Bill finally visited again two years ago. I showed him the bumper. He had flown out and did not want to pay to check the bumper.  We drove to Boston last year. I asked Bill if I should bring the bumper. "No," he said. "You can keep it. We recently built a fence around our garden. The deer have been getting bad. We found the perfect place for Bill's bumper. He approved.

The sky is lovely, dark and deep


Joe said...

Whose woods these are I think I know
Their house, by which this garden grows
With garden gate and lovely lintel
From whence it came? The Raven knows!

harada57 said...
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