May 11, 2007

Company, Cookouts, and Used-Truck Salesmen

Category: News — Ira @ 6:57 pm

Wilma, Johann, and Rhoda at the cookout

Wow, what a weekend. Marvin and Rhoda Yutzy arrived safely from Kansas on Friday evening (5/4). Their stay was too short; they left Monday morning early. My Saturday evening cookout was successful, and I grilled some naturally-raised “Steve Beiler” smoked sausage. Everyone agreed it tasted fantastic. My sister Rhoda baked some fresh strawberry pie the old-fashioned way Mom always made it, with a cream base and excellent crust (see picture below this paragraph), and thus my diet was shot for the weekend. This week the gym was my friend.
Well fed. Steve and Marvin at the cookout

On Sunday, Marvins insisted that they wanted to attend church with me, cementing my suspicion that they had driven 1300 miles primarily to support me and make sure I was OK. They didn’t ask if I was OK, they just packed up and came to see me, which, when I stop and think about it, is gratifying and pretty humbling. We attended Westminster Presbyterian, which I described in my last blog. Service was about as usual, except the pudgy main pastor (or is it vicar?) was gone that day and some young spritz preached in his stead. He seemed excited for the opportunity and did a commendable job. Because they had communion (of which we did not partake), we were able to slip out a few minutes earlier than usual and get back to Steves in good time for Sunday dinner (described in more detail later in this post).
Best friends relaxing after everyone left. Ira and Marvin

Shopping for a truck, I discovered last Saturday (5/5), is not exactly a picnic in the park. Marvin bravely volunteered to accompany me, and off we rumbled in my squeaky-clean Chevy to E-Town Dodge, arriving around 9:30. A genial, overweight (seems I notice and judge excess weight more discriminatingly lately) salesman named David approached us exactly ten seconds after we ambled onto the lot among the used trucks, and almost instantly after I assured Marvin that we could look around on our own and no one would bother us. David was very low-key, talkative, and accommodating. At around 11:00, after one test drive in a very nice 2005 gray Dodge 1500 4X4 with 20,000 miles, one free soda pop each, and at least six local (and very interesting) history lessons from David, we left.

That was dealer # one. After dropping Marvin off at Steves, I stopped by Giant to buy supplies for that evening’s cookout and unloaded them at home. I then ventured out to the New Holland Dodge dealer located about a mile east of my house. I stepped out of my truck and was immediately accosted by Adam, a very alert young salesman who looked to be no older than 17 (no exaggeration), who had recently moved into the area from Philly. You can imagine how that went. The only truck on the lot that even remotely interested me was a 2004 fully loaded Dodge 1500 4X4 with, guess what, 20,000 miles. One problem: it was bright, fire-engine Dodge Red, even the grill. Adam convinced me to take it for a test drive with him; it drove very smoothly and the engine roared with muted thunder from dual exhausts. Adam claimed that the dual exhaust system gets better gas mileage (I wouldn’t know.). He was undeterred even after I told him that by my calculations, the only person who would drive such a loud, all-red truck was someone who had to prove he was a man, something I felt was unnecessary for me to prove to anyone. “Oh no,” he assured me, “this color will grow on you.”

After we sat down at his desk, the pressure escalated, ending with Adam shoving a paper across his desk for me to sign committing to a certain price. After some brief reflection, I said that my truck was mine, fully paid for, and that I didn’t have to do a bleepin’ thing. Adam hastily agreed, but said he would like my truck to be theirs (a nice comeback). These salesmen are sharks. Feeling drained, I escaped and drove back home to prepare for the cookout. I have since mulled much over the apostle Paul’s admonition to be generally content in whatever state one finds oneself and have decided to be satisfied with my gas-sucking Chevy 2500 HD pickup, at least until a deal comes along I can’t refuse. By the way, Adam has my home phone number, and something tells me that more adventures with him are in my future.

New bumper sticker on my truck. Courtesy of Fred the Curmudgeon.
Available on his website on my Links Page.

I am no horseman (in fact, I hate horses), but each summer I watch the three major horse races; the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. The first of the three, the Kentucky Derby, was last Saturday, to be run at 5:30, or so I thought. The Queen of England was even attending (I pause and tug my forelock. As a Canadian, I am a subject of and proud to salute the Queen.).

My cookout was scheduled for 6, and I let it be known that everyone was welcome to come early and watch the race on the little TV in my garage. Marvins arrived around 4 to help with cookout preparations and to visit. At 5:20, we were in the garage, and I lighted the charcoal. Then we discovered that the race would be around 6:30. By then, almost everyone was there. I was working the grill, when a loud shout inside the garage alerted me the race had started. I rushed inside (about 2 steps) and we all hollered for our horses. I had picked Sam P. (reminded me of an Amish name), an unknown horse that was listed at 45:1 odds. It was a wild race, and Street Sense, the favorite, who lagged comfortably in 19th place for most of the race, surged to victory by several lengths. Sam P., aptly named, plugged along dismally and ended up ninth. The odds makers had him pegged right. Let’s just say that I’m glad there was no real money on the table for him.

Lancaster County’s gardens are bursting from the ground in full bloom, but mine isn’t. We always planted a small plot, probably 10×15 ft. square, beside the garage. I even bought one of those tiny little Honda tillers several years ago, the kind you can easily pick up and carry around. I like the Honda because it doesn’t require the gas/oil mixture like the Mantis does, and well, because it’s a Honda. This spring, on of our friends asked to borrow it for some landscaping work around her house. “Gladly will I lend it,” I said, “but let me sell it to you instead for a very good price.” My price was right and the little Honda tiller now has a proud new owner. My fresh veggies this summer will be harvested from the local farm stands.

After my comments about my bad experiences with the sleeping drug Ambien, Ellen emailed me that I should ask the doctor for a different drug. She suggested Lunesta. So on my follow-up visit last week, I asked Dr. Sammitt for Lunesta. After again unsuccessfully broaching the subject of drugs for my depression (I don’t know what it is with these doctors.), he agreed and gave me some free samples and a prescription. The TV commercials for Lunesta portray flitting butterflies above a peaceful, sunlit meadow of waving grass beside the placid sea. My Lunesta-induced slumber isn’t quite that idyllic, but it sure beats the Ambien experience.

I am now the proud owner of a new digital camera, a Samsung S630 with 6.0 mega pixels, whatever that means. I asked Patrick at work if it would be sufficient for my needs to take pictures for this site, and he assured me that it was more than enough. I bought it at Circuit City, where it was on a Mother’s Day sale for $99.99, not bad. They had a choice of green and pink and silver. I got the silver one.

CORRECTION: Last week I mistakenly wrote that the May primaries would be held Tues. 5/8. I was wrong; it’s this coming Tues. 5/15. I’m very embarrassed. I thought I was better organized than that. I also received a bit of mild chastisement for slamming Senator Mike Brubaker. So I concede that Mr. Brubaker is a nice man. But I still support Heidi Wheaton for County Commissioner. So on her behalf, I ask all Lancaster Countians to vote for her on Tues. 5/15.

Steves had everyone for Sunday lunch (we call it dinner) and invited Ellen’s brother, Paul Yutzy and his family as well. Paul is a cousin to Marvin Yutzy. After a delicious meal, we all sat around in a dull stupor digesting the food and drinking coffee. I decided to go home for a nap and to change clothes. Around 5 PM I headed back. I drove up the hill to Steve’s house and saw a large 15-passenger van, which I didn’t recognize, parked by the garage. Thinking to myself that this development can’t be good for anyone, I snuck into the kitchen, where Steve’s daughter, Ella, was sitting with little Johann, her son. I furtively asked her who was here visiting in the living room. Turns out it was the Lester Lambright family. Lester and Marvin had grown up together and were friends years ago in Bloomfield, Iowa. I knew Lester and his wife Sadie as well. They moved to the Lancaster area from Michigan a year or two ago and attend Charity Fellowship in Ephrata.

What to do, what to do? Go in and shake hands and visit and wait for the inevitable questions, or stay hidden in the background? (Them, in blithe, happy tones: “Where is your wife today?” Me: “She’s working.” Them: “Oh, where does she work and what does she do?” Me: “She’s a nurse and works in the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.” Them: “Oh…..Phoenix, Arizona?” Me: “Yup.” Them: “Oh……” Conversation quickly deteriorates into muddled embarrassment for everyone in the room.) After envisioning this scenario and considering my options for about one-tenth of a second, I made the obvious choice; stay in the kitchen. A few minutes later, much to my relief, Paul Yutzy, bored because he didn’t know Lesters and couldn’t really join the conversation, wandered into the kitchen. I nabbed him and we sat out on Steve’s deck on the back of the house for the next half-hour and had a very enjoyable discussion about various things. After awhile, the large 15-passenger van puttered away and Ella informed me the coast was clear, so I joined everyone in the living room. I thought the whole thing moderately humorous. Such is life after separation. (Lester and Sadie, if you read this, it’s nothing personal. I was just trying to avoid an embarrassing situation.)

At some point, once things get settled, ownership wise, at work (Graber Supply), I want to start a new page with pictures of the Graber team. I love my job and enjoy working with everyone there, which is more than a lot of people can say about their work. I have also been working on resizing more pictures and hope to open a new “More Pictures” page this weekend (NOTE: New Page has been posted as of 1 PM Sat. 5/12). I have also posted several more pictures on “The Ellen Years” page.

STATE OF THE BLUE COOLER IN MY GARAGE: Occasional food appears, for which I am most grateful. On an evening when I open it and behold, there is food, I feel like Elijah being fed by the ravens (except for the prophet part, of course).



(No Comments)

  1. Kudos on handling the used car salesmen. sometimes i wonder if they are actually human. I recently assisted my girlfriend Barbara in purchasing a used car, so i was reminded of how used car salesmen exist. i think they might be almost as low as lawyers. ta da da dum. (ahem, you’re pushing it. Ira) I try not to let gas prices scare me. Of course i cant afford 3 dolla plus per gallon, but will i quit driving? Not a chance. In reiteration, a good, solid, paid- for truck that guzzles a little is a lot better than the unknown.
    p.s. looking forward to the new picture page

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — May 12, 2007 @ 12:07 am

  2. Ah, you’ve got the camera. We just renewed our phone plan. Tried to stay away from all the gizmo things, though they do have cameras on them. More important they have large screens with large numbers and good batterys. We are up to 5 phones now, on the family share plan thing [like a small car payment]. Anyone top that? Was thinking on worship lately, in church settings. Man’s relationship with God is approached in a lot of different ways. Some burn candles, or have other rituals. Have read that the Eastern Orth. do a lot of that. Has anyone ever been to that? I think real worship can only be achieved if God accepts it. Singing together and reading of scripture to God’s glory is maybe as close as we today will get to real worship. The rest I would feel is quite often Fluff. Fluff As in trying to look good or at least competent, to others. Also, microphones are not good for worship. Did Jesus ever use a mike? Of course not. So why should we? Put a man or woman behind a mike and they’ll often think they are something. THERE IS ONE GOD, AND IT’S NOT ME OR YOU.[Quote]

    Comment by uncle jess — May 12, 2007 @ 9:05 am

  3. quote (15 pass. van) THINKING TO MYSELF THAT THIS DEVELOPMENT CAN’T BE GOOD FOR ANYONE… That is well written right there.
    And I’ll just be real honest. People keep using the work ‘kudos’ when leaving comments here, and I had never heard it before. I have figured out what it means, generaly. Would someone explain the word and give some background?

    Comment by mervin — May 12, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

  4. guilty on helping overuse the word “kudos.” I will try to be more original from now on.

    Comment by Reuben wagler — May 12, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

  5. Keep the chevrolet. A dodge won’t get any better milage. I have 98 Dodge with a 360 in it (12 mpg) and a 99 chevrolet with a 350 in it (15 mpg). My best gas milage is my GEO Metro (54 mpg).

    Comment by Fred Graber — May 14, 2007 @ 11:17 am

  6. lots of neat pictures, ira. wilma wagler

    Comment by wilma wagler — May 14, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  7. I share your aversion of 15 passenger vans…I recall as a child that on our rare and precious visits to Dawdy’s some large van would come barreling down the drive, and believe me when I say there were always MANY more then 15 people in that van! When this happened we were always reduced to eating “bread soup” for dinner. what a tragedy!!!

    also believe you have made wise decision in keeping your truck. One should never have to be reduced to dealing with salesmen unless it is unavoidable! This rule also carries over into my personal life(yes I know people think I’m turning into an old maid, relax i’m not yet 30!) one of the first pre-date questions is always career concerned, if there is the word “sales” involved, there is an immediate decision that I must quickly move on…..

    Here’s to driving vehicles till they die!


    Comment by janice — May 16, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

  8. Right on about the pie! That is the best kind of pie as far as I’m concerned- I finally got my wife to make it and I’m loving it!

    Comment by jason yutzy — May 22, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

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