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Mychal Wilmes: Attitude is everthing when things going wrong

"Don't worry about it." That's what Sam said when his car started acting like a bucking bronco while we headed for Rochester.

"Don't worry about it."

That's what Sam said when his car started acting like a bucking bronco while we headed for Rochester.

It's easy for a father to worry about such things, given that he's been stuck a few times on the side of the road. Sam hasn't, except when a flat tire ruined his return from work at 2 a.m. He called his father, who hurried to the rescue. Sam previously had been shown how to change a tire, but the lesson hadn't stuck. Perhaps it might have if the driver's education class had offered it along with oil-checking basics.

A balky sensor is behind the current situation. Two mechanics looked at it recently. One replaced the weak sensor and the other suggested that the replacement itself had gone bad.

It all adds up to money, which neither of us have in surplus. The situation motivated me to suggest that his father might as well drive him back to college for safety sake. It was a suggestion from out of left field, which he promptly rejected.


Magic spell

When mechanical knowledge fails to provide an answer, one is left to consider that perhaps the car is demon possessed. I don't give much weight to that, but Kathy considers it a sound possibility. The green van that once took her to work and the children to day care fell under such a spell a few years ago. Smoke bellowed from the engine and it died a couple times in stifling summer heat. Although a mechanic fixed it, Kathy said she didn't intend to drive it again. That presented a problem that only could be solved with a vehicular purchase. The resulting new car has been perfect with the exception of two recent happenings — a deer demolished the front end this fall and two weeks later Kathy struck a pillar, which caused significant damage.

She alerted her husband to the damage at church.

"It is only cosmetic,'' she said, while her husband reassured her it didn't amount to much because she was uninjured.

Kathy didn't suggest that the car is demon-possessed, but her husband thinks it may be infected with bad-luck spores. You've probably experienced them a time or two. Spores are present when anything that can go wrong does. The spores have been overly active lately. Kathy got the car stuck in the muck produced by the utterly useless January rain. A hissing sound from the basement — so soft that it barely lulled me from sleep — alerted the household that a water pipe had sprung a leak. An indoor swimming pool is a fine luxury, but not in winter.

One must look for positives during such times.

A kind woman from Byron baked a mincemeat pie last week and delivered it to me at the Post-Bulletin. It's crust was made with lard, which she insisted produces the best pie. She only recently canned 32 quarts of mincemeat, using a recipe that had been passed down through the generations. She also uses lard to make doughnuts the quality of which would make most doughnut chains blush.

Brightening a day


Although she didn't know it, it also was my birthday. Simple acts of kindness brighten even the darkest day. So does the unexpected sighting of several cottontails in the morning darkness. A half-dozen scooted around the yard, which was good because it seems the homestead is of late overrun with coyotes.

Coyotes take a murderous toll on rabbits, pheasants, cats and small dogs. A coyote howl produces shivers and a sense that something is amiss.

Sam's admonishment aside, I'll pace after he leaves in his demon-possessed car. He insisted that he'll call when he safely arrives and he did.

"Did anyone ever say that you are too high-strung,'' he asked, after I had earlier insisted he leave in afternoon daylight. He went on to say that fretting shortens a person's life.

Dads are supposed to be high strung about things that they have no control over. That's especially true when it seems that what can go wrong, is going wrong.

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