The appointment to see auto mechanic was 1:30. I went out to the car at 12:30 to pour two quarts of fluid down the narrow tube with the only funnel I have, which turned out to be exactly the right size, like a wrench. I don't even know if the tube with the dipstick was the place to add fluid. Read the owner's manual on how to add fluid without destroying the transmission. No mention at all of where to pour the fluid. For that one, I was on my own. I did the only thing I could see to do. It worked. Drove to the shop, transmission working like usual, soft rain, wipers about half speed, water puddles in the road. I ran through nearly every one of them, washing the mud off the underside of the car. Didn't have a chance to wash it off for three dollars with a pressure-washer in town. Chuck put it up on the lift and the underside was cleaner than if I'd washed it. The problem was a hose, a small hose about a foot long had sprung a leak where it rubbed against a corner it bent around until it rubbed a hole. The parts store in town delivers right away. Easy to fix. The part and labor cost about a tenth of what I went there prepared in my mind to pay. I was also having two new horns installed. The horns on the car were not stock, came from I don't know what, Appalachian-American (redneck) rigged, as we call it around here. I had trouble-shot the electrical leak to the horns and removed the fuse to the line the horns work on. Goodbye radio antenna, clock, door locking and unlocking device, interior lights. I had not noticed how much I rely on the clock. Only driving by way of schedule, I like to know the time. And I like to listen to Charlotte NPR talk shows during the day in fifteen and twenty minute clips. Sometimes Fresh Air, Robin Young, Diane Rehm, The World, have some interesting subjects to talk about. They give trips to town and back some left brain activity to accompany the right brain of driving.
I felt refreshed learning the transmission was taken care of, the problem not on the inside. Chuck played the new horns for me. They are loud, like big truck loud. I sometimes tap a horn to alert deer at night grazing beside the road. They don't know what the two lights are. In deer culture, the ones that find out what the lights are don't live to tell it. This horn duet will get their attention. I tap the horn, too, when I pass Ross's shop and where my friend of many years, Tina, works. While Chuck was working on the car, I went to Crystal's sign-making shop, next to her dad's shop, to see her and visit. A young Alleghany woman came in about some custom tshirts she wanted made. She wore a jacket with a third-world array of rhinestones on the back in a big pattern, covered the whole back. She had tight jeans with rhinestone designs on the back pockets. I was thinking, There's a woman I'm told, thinks what's glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven. Jimmy Page outer-space guitar solo. And what a hillbilly accent. I was curious for Crystal to tell me how she handled an issue with day-care personnel, one in particular, where Vada was concerned. She had legitimate cause, would handle it a thousand times better than I could. She did handle it well. It worked out so well for her she did not have to call the powerful woman within for backup. She spoke with the administrator, who understood what she was saying when the option of taking Vada out of the facility came up, a hefty amount a month. Crystal is good at making herself understood. She does it gently and mindfully. She was working on some tshirt orders. She's learning the process, teaching herself well. I had her make one for a friend's birthday coming up next week.
In Chuck's shop today, I heard a cut-loose fiddle tune and a tear-jerker gospel tune sung so beautifully in the hillbilly way it pulled both Chuck and me out of our conversation for a moment. A major part of hillbilly singing the people from outside the mountains don't hear is how from the heart the singing is. It doesn't sound like it. You feel it. All mountain music is about feeling. I could see in my mind's eye the people in an old-time mountain church singing the song, not a dry eye in the house. In the old way, the church was called the meeting house, the house for brevity. I love it when I hear a beautiful song someplace by surprise. At Ross's tractor repair and welding shop, he has satellite radio set on outlaw country metal. It's some straight-ahead Americana rock n roll. I hear good grooves in there too, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Southern rock, the Stones. It felt today like I was riding a wave where everything flowed so smoothly no effort was involved in anything I did. It all flowed in a continuum of good feeling. First stop when I left Chuck's shop, Billings Tire & Auto, was the new auto parts store in town, O'Reilly's, to see about a battery charger. I've borrowed Allen's battery charger more times than he's used it. It was time to buy one. Found a good one listed at $120 on sale for $65. They had others for forty and fifty dollars, but only with slow-speed charge and extra-slow-speed. This one had an option for high-speed charging as well. The difference of a few hours or all day and all night. Found what I went in there for, got a good deal too. Stopped at the grocery store for catfood, drug store for pills and hardware store to have a spare set of keys made. Every step along the way felt good, accomplishing something that genuinely needed doing. And friendly associations at every stop. Even got a hug from Lynn Worth in Farmer's Hardware.
Stopped by the coffee shop for a pound of Ethiopian coffee and a cup of the coffee of the day. Saw Bob Bamberg and we talked. He was alarmed by the repeated news of cops killing unarmed black men, women and children, retarded people of any race, homeless, poor people without recourse. I felt jaded hearing his bewilderment. He's bored in his retired years, talking about finding a job, something to do. I was taken a little aback. I'm loving my retirement so much there aren't enough hours in the day. I'm busy all the time with something, allowing self days when I don't feel like doing anything at all but sleep and watch movies. Those are my battery charging days. Naps are about recharging. At home after a successful drive of no engine problems, I took shoes and socks off, stretched out on the bed, pulled on the cover and couldn't sleep. I relaxed and waited til feeling like getting up. I find to lie there and rest is as good as sleep for a quick recharge. Needed to go to Carpenter's house and have a shower, it being a warm day. I noticed on the deck that the phoebe is back, building a nest high on a rafter. Tiny mud splashes sprinkled the deck in front of one of two doors. Judy does not like this. I agree with her, the worst place for a bird nest, except for the bird it's great. Being in a place of exploring gentleness instead of force, I can't knock the bird nest down, but can persuade the bird to suspect the security of this location. I have a toy snake a couple feet long made of a hundred or more slices of wood that allow it to wiggle like a snake. Freaky likeness in the wiggle. Bought it for a dollar. I found some black spray paint and painted the wooden snake a glossy blacksnake. In the morning, I will put the blacksnake on the deck table, a light tan octagon. I believe the bird will see it. I'll go up daily and move it to a new place. If it doesn't work after a few days, I'll find a long branch on the ground in the woods and put the blacksnake on the rafter beside the nest. That'll do it.
selfie by henri rousseau