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This page is a reverse chronological archive of our daily home page articles, from January 9, 2013 through March 11, 2013


Which dog? When?

Thinking of getting a dog or puppy? We are proud to sponsor the new Which dog? When? series, offered in collaboration with the Humane Society of Jefferson County. Our behavioral specialist Mittsy Voiles will conduct free monthly sessions to help you pick the perfect dog. Click here to learn more.


11 March 2013

Mary Lee

By Bill Stork, DVM

On February 23, Mary Lee Anderson passed silently from this world. It may have been the only thing she did quietly in her 86 years. She leaves behind many friends, her children, the Michigan Wolverines and a vet clinic. It can be said, without a thimble of exaggeration, to her we owe our very existence.

Forty eight years ago, Dr. Robert Anderson established the Lake Mills Veterinary Clinic. Today we have a staff of 10, and couldn't function without anyone. In 1965, Dr. Anderson had Mary Lee.

He practiced out of a two-wheel-drive sedan, at a time when few farmers treated their own cows. No days off, no shared "on call," no emergency clinic. It was up to Dr. Anderson to treat animals in need. Long before cell phones and GPS, it was up to Mary Lee to find him.

The life of a country vet was anything but easy; without Mary Lee, it would have been unthinkable. As veterinary technician, receptionist, accountant and cleaning staff, she also maintained the home and mothered two children.

Mary was meticulous and frugal. Farmers thinking they might not owe quite what their statements read would be shown in detail dates, times and services, as well as payments made. IRS auditors were shown proper documentation; t's crossed and i's dotted, they would soon cut a check themselves.

The only thing more legendary than her resolve was her wit. Blessed with a surgical sense of humor, she was a writer, a former editor for the New York Times, a lover of music, theater and had traveled the world. If your vision of the '60s and '70s is black, white and monotone, Mary Lee was Kodachrome and surround sound. From NASCAR to Michigan football, politics to current events, you would be hard-pressed to find a topic she could not converse upon.

When I bought the clinic in 1994, Mary Lee was gracious and supportive, if not relieved. Though she seldom ventured past her living room on Grant Street, she always seemed to know what was taking place in the little clinic on Highway V.

Mary, for 19 years we have practiced so as to respect what you and Dr. Anderson started, and to dignify the Veterinarian's Oath. We will do our dead level best to ensure you would be proud of where we are going.


4 March 2013

Hedley can swim clear 'cross, part 3


By Bill Stork, DVM

By 1991, Bruiser had woven his presence into the musical and poetic fabric of Champaign-Urbana for the better part of a decade. Yet, he found himself without a band – neither to accompany his guitar and vocals, nor, more importantly, to adorn his left hand. He petitioned the school district for a sabbatical and loaded his blue Toyota 4x4 with three Fenders, a hollow body Gibson, and a Fender Twin Reverb. Hedley rode shotgun.

Two tanks of fuel and a potty break found them in Dallas where they filled up on unleaded and brisket. Past Waco, three and a half hours later, they rolled onto 6th Street, Austin Texas. Bruiser had twelve months to shop his chops around the live music capitol of the world, and maybe find a date.

It's been said the guitar player always gets the girl; so far that hadn't held up, due in no small part to his nature. Though he had written songs to the contrary, Bruiser was in search of Mrs. Right, and had little interest in Miss Right Now. As history will account, his wingman Hedley was bound by no such principles.

Austin is the incubator of all things liberal in the Great Republic of Texas. The live music scene is traced to a gas station owned by Kenneth Threadgill, opening in 1933. Threadgills has grown into an iconic restaurant and music venue that routinely hosts the likes of Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson around a big oak table, over their famous chicken fried steak. In 1960, Threadgill himself pushed a young singer in front of the microphone, and so began the ultimately tragic career of Janis Joplin.

The de facto Mayor of Austin is a Chicago-born, Jewish country singer named Kinky Friedman who pulled 12% of the votes in the 2006 gubernatorial election. The town motto, official or not is, "keep Austin weird," and bar time is according to one Clifford Antone (1949-2006), the proprietor of the club that gave birth to the likes of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

There is more music in Austin at 5:00 on a Tuesday afternoon than Chicago on a Saturday night, and leash laws are of little concern. So, a guitar man with a case full of Freddy King, and a collie with an independent streak longer than his nose were set.

Nearing the end of four years of veterinary school, spring break found me a little tired in the head and missing my friend Bruiser. With gas just over a buck a gallon and my Bronco II getting nearly 25 miles per, I figured a hundred dollars would get us there and back. A thousand miles didn't seem so far for a little barbecue, a whole lot of music, and a Shiner Bock.

If we drove to St. Louis on a Wednesday, we could get a free meal and a bed at my friend Jeff Slaby's, and easily make Austin for the first note, Thursday night at Joe's Generic Bar. My friend, native Texan, and protagonist of "The Great Austin Brisket Debacle" Arlin Rogers, my 6-month-old lab Cooder, and I loaded 150 CDs and two bags of nacho cheese Corn Nuts, and we were gone.

His first roadtrip since being adopted from the animal shelter, Cooder was amazing. His bladder held as long as ours but when we fell into Bruiser's driveway and Cooder's feet hit the ground, he was ready to rip. With nearly 24 hours' worth of puppy to burn, he commenced hot laps around the cottage, butt tucked low for stability, back legs reaching past his nose. With Arlin as my witness, the gravel hadn't settled from the second lap when he was coming around for the third.

On lap four, he noticed Hedley on the front porch. Next time around, he dropped his landing gear and came to a dusty, skidding stop, studying the collie. Hedley kept his head between his paws, body slightly curved, never so much as lifting his head. It would appear that haggard travelers and maniacal yellow puppies are routine in Hedley's world. Cooder turned to get our take on the situation; Arlin and I shrugged. Cooder trotted onto the porch, and took his place next to Hedley. When in Rome, you do as the Romans; when in Austin, you chill.

Austin's climate lends itself to screen doors, with humidity that tends to warp them so that they no longer latch. That worked nicely for Hedley. More socially comfortable than Bruiser, when the weather was nice Hedley would let himself out to go visiting.

Once, while out for a stroll with Bruiser along the Colorado River, Hedley was rushed by a young family. Obviously familiar, Hedley dropped to a play-bow and chased the young boys around the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Looking a bit awkward, the parents extended a hand to Bruiser, "oh, you must be Hedley's dad."

Midway through his time in Austin, Bruiser found himself in a familiar place, a thousand miles south of home. It has been said "the blues is all about feelin' good, about feelin' bad." With his Jimmy Vaughn and T-Bone Walker licks Bruiser had no trouble finding a stage, and the people loved him. But affairs of the heart, still elusive.

Around that time Hedley had fallen into a pattern of excusing himself nearly every evening, not to return until the middle of the next morning. Bruiser could not help but be concerned, if not curious.

One morning, Bruiser was out on a run. A few blocks from home, a screen door creaked. Onto the porch strode the vision of a University of Texas student's dream. One step behind was Hedley. He slowed just enough so she could plant a soft kiss on his long nose. Down the steps, he fell in next to Bruiser. Side by side, stride for stride, they completed the 3-mile loop.

It was abundantly clear. The title of "Master" had passed from man to beast.


27 February 2013

Hedley can swim clear 'cross, part 2

By Bill Stork, DVM

Bruiser wrote and sang songs about girls and God. The difference was seldom clear. You would describe Bruiser's faith in the same breath as his height, weight, and age. It was never out front or confrontational, and never did he preach or profess. Rather it was woven into the lyrics of his songs, often by way of double entendre: "All my heart, all my soul, all of my mind, I want to love you," would make a fitting profession of love to a potential mate. The title of the song is Deuteronomy.

It was in the way he carried himself. After wreaking havoc on a Saturday night juke joint with nothing more than a six string guitar and twelve bar blues, he met high fives and handshakes with a sheepish glance in the general direction of the floor, "Thanks man, 'preciate that."

It was in the way he listened: slightly slouched, brow deeply creased and his hand covering his mouth. When talking with Bruiser you were moved to speak slowly and think; to fully consider the plight and position of your fellow man of whom you speak.

Born and raised in the back pew of 8:00 Mass and CCD, I didn't realize the man who would help quietly carry my faith from apron strings to adulthood would play a wicked slide guitar.

When there was celebrating to do, there was only one call to make.

When there was bread and water to be presented to the Altar at a Catholic service, the number was the same.

At a time when I found myself in a place deep, dark, and without a glimmer of hope, I reached out to the Bruiser. His answer was in my mailbox in 24 hours.

With his band The Javelina's, he recorded an album calledAll I know; thirteen songs from a man who had also known pain. Seven songs of commiseration, with titles like "Pain as Big as Texas," and "Home is where the Heartbreaks," followed by 6 songs of hope, with titles like "Love in the Light" and "Let me be your Pony". Where once there was not a glimmer, there was now an Olympic torch at the end of the tunnel.

For all that Bruiser was as a Christian, an educator and a musician, the circle was made complete by a 6-year-old black and white collie. If ever there was a pair who clearly demonstrated the symbiosis between man and beast, it was Bruce and Hedley.

to be continued...


18 February 2013

Hedley can swim clear 'cross, part 1

By Bill Stork, DVM

To anyone who has ever considered writing in any form, I implore you to do so, whether it be a diary that that lives in the second drawer of your nightstand or a New York Times best seller. You will at least resurrect thoughts that had escaped for decades, if not learn things about yourself and others that you had never known. In the two years these ramblings have been published I can think of few, if any times, when that was not the case. I can think of none more so than the one to follow. This is the story of a dog named Hedley, and my friend Dr. Bruce Rummenie.

Bruce was born and raised in Quincy, Illinois, on the shores of the mighty Mississippi, some 480 river miles upstream from Memphis. He studied at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, reminiscent of the east side of Madison, land-locked by corn fields rather than Lake Monona. Upon graduation, he didn't go far. He took a job in the Urbana School district as an eighth grade English teacher. Minus one year in the late eighties, he has yet to leave.

Never to be mistaken for Austin, Texas, Champaign nonetheless had no shortage of study breaks and live music. Within earshot of the student union and the iconic Alma Mater statue, was Mecca. 36 stairs up, overlooking the 600 block of East Green Street was Mabel's, a black cave, capacity 365. In my eight years at the University of Illinois, Mabel's  hosted the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, REM, Anson Funderburgh, and The Black Crowes. Near midnight on September 22, 1985, Neil Young, Willy Nelson, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty and Mellencamp, B.B. King, Bon Jovi, and most of the lineup from Farm Aid graced the tiny stage for an after-hours show.

On October 21, 1986 we left Townsend 2South to celebrate our friend Jay Walker's 21st birthday. The lineup at Mabel's that night started with a funk and pop band called the Modern Humans. The night would be headlined by an indie rock outfit called Otis and the Elevators, fronted by a future orthopedic surgeon with a physical chemist on bass. In the middle was a retro Texas Blues and swing outfit named after the minor league baseball team from the hometown of Corporal Maxwell Klinger, The Mudhens. Little did I know the music that night would become the soundtrack of our adolescence and beyond. The friends would be brothers, 'til death do us part. The man on lead guitar would become a mentor.

The Mudhens were: Ricky "the fever" Cummings, the world's most polite drummer who transported his equipment on a trailer behind his BMW motorcycle; Scott "the boy wonder" Portzline on bass, the man who would eventually bring you all things with the Nike "swoosh"; Kevin Deforrest, lead singer, a  6ft 7inch Olympic swimmer with a gravel bucket baritone and a gift for gab (think Michael Phelps with shoulder length waves and a Skoal ring  meets John Lee Hooker).

Finally, there was Bruce. Monday through Friday, Bruce Rummenie shaped young minds with grammar and composition.  On Saturday nights he strapped on a blonde '62 Fender Strat belt buckle high and carpenter level, plugged into a Fender Twin Reverb. He stepped up to a microphone, closed both eyes and let 'er fly. From that moment forward, Bruce Rummenie became, "The Bruiser Man".

to be continued...


17 February 2013

The Great Alaskan Coffee Heist, part 2

By Bill Stork, DVM

We left our story at Dave's cabin, located 75 miles up a frozen Alaskan river. One can speculate that contractors, plumbers and electricians are scant in Dave's neighborhood, so he probably built the place himself. We can also assume it is void of luxuries such as indoor plumbing. Curbside garbage and recycling? Not likely.

On this trip, Dave had burned through supplies, firewood, and his yearning for solitude. Having had a highly successful 10 days of trapping and hunting, he packed for a morning departure. Nighttime temperatures had dropped to double digits below zero, and the first number was not 1.

The fetal position in his sleeping bag, wearing polypro, stocking hat and smart wool socks, was survivable. In the cabin one could easily see their breath, if there was light.

At just the time, too early to get up when the fire in the stove had dwindled a faint glow, nature called. The outhouse, ten yards out the door, was not an option. Legend has it that Paul Bunyan could flick a light switch and be in bed asleep before it got dark. Babe's master had nothin' on Dave.

With little time to negotiate, a decision was made to sacrifice the remnants of Folgers Breakfast Blend. The 2lb can became a receptacle, and he was back in his cocoon.

Sleep would be elusive and light is brief in the Alaskan winter. Eventually Dave would gather his gear, and head for civilization. Having successfully traversed the river, he loaded his snowmobile, packed his truck, and headed home. In need of food, fuel and a good stretch, he made a stop.

As America's "Last Frontier", there's not a Kwik Trip and McDonalds every eight miles. His yearn for solitude had been satiated, replaced by the pull of a hot meal and a friendly face. So when Dave saw the dim glow advertising fried chicken and mashed potatoes for $5.99, he pulled into the gravel lot, between mountains of plowed snow. In exchange for $8.00 and a detailed wildlife report including moose and bear sightings and tracks, Dave got a full belly and a smile.

The smile wouldn't last long. In America's Last Frontier we usually don't think in terms of security, but when Dave returned, his truck had been broken into.

As he circled his rig to check his load he saw the light of the diner shining through the corner of his camper shell. He turned the latches and shone his headlamp into the bed of the truck. Evidently in Alaska, though rare, roadside thieves are utilitarian, principled and wear size 11 shoes. Untouched were campstoves, guns and pelts hard-earned on trapping lines.

Missing were leftover steel-cut oats, 1/3 of a jar of peanut butter, his sleeping bag and snow boots. Violation and anger were but a flash as Dave recognized the missing supplies were tools of survival.

Dave's sense of bewilderment gave way to a commanding guttural belly laugh, as he realized that also missing was a "two-pound" can of Folgers Breakfast Blend.


4 February 2013

Tooth is stranger than fiction

By Bill Stork, DVM

Once overheard by our favorite staff behaviorist, native Tennessean and editor of these articles, as her elder family loaded for a road trip, "All right, before we head out, does everybody have all their medicine and their teeth?"

My father was reported to be an angelic child, but landed in serious trouble when he thought it would be funny to switch my grandparents' dentures.

Thanks to excellent dental care and education by the likes of our Dr. Slavens, the percentage of adults requiring false teeth is dramatically reduced in recent decades.

The last twenty years have seen amazing advances in veterinary medicine, from kidney transplants to stem cells used to regenerate cartilage. Our favorite tortoiseshell named Zoe is still striking fear in veterinarians and technicians, three years after being diagnosed with intestinal lymphosarcoma, thanks to veterinary oncology.

One thing we hope never to need is dentures for dogs. Periodontal disease is the most common ailment we see in otherwise healthy cats and dogs. We hope to limit its devastating effects with education and prevention, rather than antibiotics and extractions. That is why a crucial component to every physical is an oral exam, even if, occasionally, that comes to risk useful digits.

A common observation during exams is halitosis. If your pet occasionally has bad breath, it is an excellent indicator of coprophagia (he's probably eating somebody's poop). If the odor is persistent, however, it is pathognomonic (dead lock cinch), for periodontal disease. Odor equals infection.

Other indicators can be unexplained weight loss, food aversion, rubbing his face, pawing at the mouth or hypersalivation (drooling or swallowing a lot). Sometimes extremely advanced cases present with surprisingly subtle signs.

As well as being painful, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss, abscessed roots and sinus infections. It can create or contribute to heart disease, and seed the kidneys with infection. In aged animals, untreated dental disease can be life limiting.

February is Dental Health Month. As a profession, we work hard to promote prophylactic dental care before painful extractions become necessary, and to talk with clients about the most effective components of home dental diet and care. Come see us this month, and get 10% off all products and services related to dental care!

28 January 2013

The Great Alaskan Coffee Heist, part 1

By Bill Stork, DVM

Not much further than an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass south of the intersection of Hwy BB and 73 is the Red Hip-Roof Dairy Barn of Wisconsin postcards.

From the concrete pad next to the well head you take two steps down and 75 years back in time. Spare belts, rope halters and fencing supplies hang neatly. The south wall of the milk house, cleaner than Rachel Ray's kitchen, is decorated with framed awards for quality milk production.

For the past half-century, and sadly for only 10 months more, 26 of the luckiest cows in the land have been tended by Larry and Betty Dahl. The first time I set foot on their farm and every visit since, I have been thoroughly humbled, charmed and enlightened.

Humbled, as anyone should be while standing on ground where Norwegian immigrants once stood. Rolling, rocky and wooded, they declared it a fine place to farm. A hundred and a half years later, there stand two homes, a dairy barn, and calf sheds; machine sheds full of tractors, wagons and spreaders; and a garage for farm trucks and the white Lincoln Continental Town Car for when you have to go to town.

Charmed, on my first visit watching Betty carry a Surge bucket back to the transfer. It was June and her sweat-soaked, V-neck t-shirt featured her bulging biceps and deltoids. I smiled to appreciate the results of hard life on the farm. And, I learned, a life membership to Princeton Club all the better to keep a stranglehold on her title as National Arm Wrestling Champion.

Enlightened, on topics ranging from successfully maintaining a marriage and waking your mate in a manner that says, "I Love You" without speaking the words. And medicine: "Vodka, with a hint of lemon for prevention; brandy, just a little warm, with honey, when you feel something comin' on."

For a guy who worked hard to never leave the farm, Larry seems to know a lot about what's going on in the world, and has a lot of friends in faraway places. Among the more memorable is his friend Dave, who lives in Alaska. Since winters aren't enough of a challenge in Anchorage, Dave has a place up Nort'.

Here in Wisconsin you don't get braggin' rights until you are north of Wausau. The alphas roam the woods of Eagle River and the UP. Dave, on the other hand, has an Alaskan cabin only accessible by snowmobile, 75 miles up a frozen river.

To be continued ...

21 January 2013

Git 'er done, revisited (part 3)

By Bill Stork, DVM

I once saw a sign at Denver International Airport: "The top 10 professions of 2025 don't exist yet."

As the father of a 10- and 12-year-old, I would have been stopped dead in my tracks, but I was on a moving walkway. For two years I have contemplated how to help my kids prepare for that. In the meantime, what I have come to realize is that I don't remember how much money I made plowing snow when I was a kid.

What I do remember is that I did it with a machine built from scrap iron and spare parts, in the garage, with my dad. I would like to tell you that it never broke down, but when it did I was obsessed with cobbling it back together, so that when dad came home from plowing his parking lots, my driveways were clean. Mr. Carter was the fire chief. Mr. Shemanski had a heart attack; Mr. Funk a stroke. They were doing well, but, just in case, an ambulance had to get in.

I vividly recall plowing from home to the farthest customer. There is no forgetting the feeling of driving past 17 driveways void of a single snowflake, winged wide for easy entrance and exit, and sidewalks shoveled for safety.

We are marching deeper into the age of technology and further from the age of production. In 2012, a mere 1% of our population claimed agriculture as their main source of income. Inevitable as it may be, I'm not in the least bit comfortable.

Including me, let us not deprive our children and ourselves the opportunity of physical accomplishment; to know the visceral satisfaction of having built something, fixed something, moved something, or grown something. And, if all goes well, we might give our children an opportunity to help a neighbor and a gain a healthy measure of respect for people who do it daily.


14 January 2013

Git 'er done, revisited (part 2)

By Bill Stork, DVM

The only new things in the garage were Father's Day and Christmas presents.


Along with Charlie Rich, Glenn Campbell and Kenny Rogers, the shop radio frozen by decades of dust on WSOY AM “ played "One Piece at a Time."

Not dissimilar to Johnny's Cadillac, we put together the functional parts of the two ten-year-old mini-tractors, and in no time, she was running. If Johnny's Caddy ran like a song, this was more like a blues tune. With a three-foot snowplow, a hunk of #9 wire, some strap steel and the welder from my uncle's farm, we had a fully articulating, three-angle blade; though we did have to cut a half moon out of the lever to accommodate the fly wheel when we angled the snow on Mrs. Hayne's driveway.

Long before front wheel assist, Dad welded two drive gears from a Caterpillar Tournapull to a steel plate to make wheel weights. That, along with tire chains, assured we had all 10.5 horses on the ground. She worked like a dream during the first big snowstorm, but I found myself inhaling exhaust. Dad got to work: a foot of 6-inch steel pipe and a homemade baffle made sure the whole neighborhood knew it was us coming, and put both the exhaust and a plume of blue flame well above my head when I got after the big drifts.

Dad worked construction. He could drown out the Civil War with his snoring, but when the first snowflake fluttered onto one of the 21 white pines outside his window, he was up and at 'em. While his truck warmed and coffee brewed, he would train a 250-watt flood lamp on the oil pan of my little tractor. She could push a mountain of snow, but the cold-blooded little cast iron Kohler was not about to turn over when it was below 15F.

By the time he got to work, there would be a couple of inches on the ground. Like a blue collar ballet, Dad ran a 30-year-old Caterpillar road grader and his buddy, Gene Prasun*, ran a Bobcat Skid loader. They would clear the parking lots of grocery stores, churches and hospitals, while I headed out on my 12-horse lawn tractor to clear the neighbors' driveways.

Next week: the moral of the story ...

*Dad and Gene: During a historic blizzard in 1978 that dumped 21 inches of snow, Dad and Gene had been plowing for nearly 30 straight hours. Dad was pulling a healthy drift away from the curb at the Piggly Wiggly, when a Crown Victoria slipped around his road grader and parked right in front of the machine. The driver leapt out, removed his glove and gestured to Dad in a fashion that was less than appreciative, and went inside.

Rather than fuss, and without so much as eye contact, Gene slipped the bucket of his Bobcat under the bumper of the Ford Sedan and lifted it off the ground. Dad passed with the grader and meticulously deposited several tons of slush and snow neatly under the car from stern to bow.

Gene gently let the front end down and circled to the back. By the time the driver had returned with his emergency 2:00AM carton of Camels, Gene had surgically removed the excess snow from the doors. The driver would hop in and put it in drive, but the car would go nowhere for several days, as the wheels were 4 inches off the ground.

9 January 2013

Git 'er done, revisited

By Bill Stork, DVM

The year was 1977.

It was the best of times: Saturday Night Fever, Barry Manilow, Jimmy Carter, the first female Episcopalian minister. It was the worst of times: we lost Groucho Marx, Steve Bilko and Elvis Presley.

At least as momentous was mechanization of the first business I would be involved in. I had been mowing five lawns and shoveling snow for a few years. Market research suggested there were opportunities for expansion. So a meeting was called among the rank and file, accounting and mechanical shop (meaning Mom and Dad and I talked about it at supper one night). We would expand our fleet from a self-propelled Toro and two snow shovels to include a riding lawn tractor.

It has been said, with accuracy, that a Stork and his dollar do not easily part. Though everything at 1195 Nickey Ave performed its function and worked when you needed it, we were never the first owner. So it would have been totally out of character and over budget to march in to the local John Deere store and arrange a payment plan for a brand-new machine.

Dad always traded trucks and cars on the coldest day of the year, and negotiated in the parking lot. So, in character and out of season we scoured classified ads and auctions, and bought two. The first was a 1965 Wheel Horse, with a blown motor, but a brand-new hydrostatic transmission. The other wasn't nearly as new, but had a rebuilt 12hp Kohler. So, over several nights in the early winter 1977, Mom was thanked for dinner, dishes were cleared, and Dad and I headed to the garage.

That garage was a 20x28, tongue-and-groove temple to Midwestern work ethic and family values, and was installed in one day. My dad, our cousin and I were stripping and shingling when my dad got called to work. Cousin Jim thought that would be a good time for a glass of iced tea and a break; I thought that if Dad was going to work and provide for his family, he wasn't going to have to come home and put a roof on the garage as well. So we put the hammer (and the chalk line) down. When Dad came home, we were putting the ladders away.

The garage had no name like "The Hub" or "Man Cave"; it was all about function.

Location and orientation to the house was crucial for maximum production.  Initially dad espoused the value of a detached garage: "An attached garage is so warm, it'll rust your car out." Later, he added that the 50 feet between the back door and the garage was just enough of an impediment to reduce interruptions. It was wired with three-phase to run the welder and a propane tank to run the bullet heater. A telephone, on the other hand, was conspicuously absent; same notion.

Long before Jiffy Lube and spreadsheets, the maintenance record of every car, lawn mower and truck was logged in magic marker between the studs, "77 Merc, OLF, 81,500 miles, 1-5-81". This was no ten-minute oil change: every grease zerk would be over full, every bearing and linkage inspected, and the next entry would be well before 83,000 miles.

Never mind the manufacturer's recommendation. The cars in this garage were paid for up front, with blue collar dollars and transported his family.

To be continued