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  • Clarke Wallace

OH,OH...!

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

You must expect changes when you hit age twenty-one. Your reaction is a little slower, your get-up-and-go isn’t quite what it used to be. Starting up takes a little more effort. And getting whacked by the thick butt end of a tree doesn’t help matters.


This isn't about me, but my 1999 Mazda Miata sports car. It’s red with a short, snappy gearshift, the car coming with a clutch. It gives your left foot something to do while driving. It comes with a soft top, windup windows and an engine that makes my Miata run like a deer.


“What did you do?” murmured Lionel Roberts, owner of L.G.E. Auto Collision in Woodbridge. It was the second time I’ve come here; the first some 15 years ago when a look-good metal add-on on the SUV’s passenger’s door fell off. The dealership would only sell me a new one.


Back then I had dropped by Auto Collision where owner Roberts greeted me with a sly smile. “You want me to glue it back on?” He used a strip of double-sided tape, charging me nothing. It was still there when I traded in the SUV.


The same grin spread across Lionel’s face when he glanced at the Miata. “You hit a tree?’


“A tree hit me,” I said, it having slammed butt-first butt down on the hood. Another smaller branch knocked a hole in the spoiler. Yet another totaled the windscreen, and punched out the soft top’s back window.


Lionel penciled the damages onto a small pad: roof needed replacing, spoiler might be fixable; windshield replaced. The metal strut - where the window wipers are attached along with the hood - bent way out of shape.


A heck of a mess, he said, but fixable. He disappeared into the little office next to the main building. He joined me with a digitized sheet of what was needed. The cost would be less than that, he told me, depending on what he could find in the marketplace.


He had already found a used canvas roof in good shape. He’d patch the hole in the spoiler. The windshield would be new. He looked up from the pad, giving me a ‘don’t worry, we’ll work it out’.


Author’s comment: Lionel Roberts made one frowning observation, little indentations most noticeable on the hood. Hail, he decided. No I said. From acorns dropping each fall from a nearby oak tree. I got the feeling he didn’t believe me.


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