Merry Christmas 2018 
A "Way" in a Manger

When it comes to Christmas and Church, you may have
noticed that I am more of a "rocks and trees" guy than a "stained glass and statues" type. I have, however, always treasured the Christmas story and all the hours I spent in Sunday school growing up.

Going back a ways when my first daughter was my only
daughter, it was about this time of year, and on Sunday mornings Joanne would have her Mom and Sister down to our little flat to get their weekly hair "poof". Outside, it was a crisp but sunny morning and Dana, (about 5 at the time), and I escaped the gabble for a long hike along the Bay front, north of our home.

We were following a game trail atop the high bank, then through an open field of goldenrod and straw grass, grown well over her head. Being at that level, she noticed some little round balls on the stems of many of the plants and wanted to know what they were.

As often happens out in nature, God was good enough to
come and sit down with us on a log, for a bit of show and tell. I cut one of the little balls open, with my pocket knife, to show her the living creature that had made it's home inside the stem. The little white grub, protected there, was waiting for the warm sun of spring when he would eat his way out and change into a buzzing fly.

We gathered up a whole bundle of the goldenrod, with the little
balls in them, along with a batch of the beautiful straw grass. I promised her when the ice got on the bay we would cut the little grubs out and use them for bait to catch some nice perch for Mom to fry up in a pan. Jojo, it turned out, wasn't quite as excited about the whole deal as we were, and didn't want "no bugs" in the house!

So, we cut all the little balls off the stems and put them in a coffee can out on the back porch to wait for the ice. With our pile of straw grass we decided to make a manger scene out of a piece of plywood and some left over peg board. It was a great Christmas project: we covered the floor with straw for the animals and people, and sewed the rest of it to the pegboard roof for thatching. We had a special Christmas that year with our homemade stable and manger under the tree, complete with the whole cast of characters.

I couldn't tell you what gifts we exchanged that year, but today I will be setting up that same Nativity Scene for about the forty-fifth time! It never fails to remind me of the miracle of life inside the stem of the beautiful golden rod and my own little miracle asleep on my shoulders, her head on mine for the hike home.

May you all be as blessed as I am this Christmas Season. gb

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One "HOT" Mama!! from last spring. 
Karen was a forty something, aging athlete: trim as a filly and hard as a rock. She thrived on conditioning, but her true calling was stay at home mom.

Today's assignment was the gym at six AM, then after breakfast and chores, grocery shopping with four enthusiastic helpers (spring break at city schools). At this point, two carts of groceries were stuffed behind the third row seating of the van named Charles (after the prince of whales, because it's size and color resembled a whale, and one of the children was named Jonah; trust me, it all makes sense).

Charles mid section was occupied by four squirming children on a mission to irritate each other. In the front passenger seat was Julius, Karen's sister's extremely gassy beagle, which she had just picked up to watch for the weekend. It was now about one o'clock; traffic on Peach street was at a complete standstill, and the temperature for the first time this year was pushing past eighty degrees.

Molly, the youngest, was determined to see how long she could make her ice cream cone last, (the other three were long gone). Julius, however, had become aware of the ice cream dripping off Molly's elbow and decided to help out. "Mo-om, he smells awful and he's trying to eat my ice cream!" Which at this point was stuffed into Charles headliner.
If only this air conditioner would work, there might be a chance of survival! That was when the huge, mean, fuzzy yellow bumble bee flew in the open window. . . . .

Now, of course, this is just a made up story that would never happen to my daughter in real life; but wouldn't it be a good idea to get that AC checked before the ice cream starts to melt!!!

Just $39.95 till the end of July.

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Andy's Auto Repair and Prayer Service 
Merry Christmas Message from 2014

Little Creek Junction, North Florida, USA

It took Ned and Andy three whole days and some late nights in August to get the broken gear box on Rischel Watson tractor fixed and back together. Now in December with crops in, Rischel and his brother Axle were paying Andy back by putting a new roof on his shop.

They didn't stop there though; they extended the roof to make a fine covered outdoor work area. It was almost Christmas when they wrapped it up. It looked so good Andy decided to have all the neighbors over on the 24th for a little get together.

Everybody brought something and Emma Watson brought her newborn little girl, Chelsea Lynn. They put her crib over in one corner with some straw around it for a little Christmas affect, and Andy's long legged hound dog (Sampson), took up guard duty right there beside her.

Andy's brother Patrick said the blessing; Pat had a way of giving thanks for things that the rest of us just took for granted. He said to just look around, real good, because every face, table, pot of beans and cupcake would be part of a beautiful picture in each of our minds that could never get lost or burned up.

He said if we looked extra close and studied hard, we would carry it around with us for the rest of our lives. And when we got to the end of our road and passed on, everything in that picture would be there, and go right along with us forever! It was quiet for a bit, everyone just looking around, then Chelsea Lynn let out one of those high pitched hungry baby screeches, and Sampson, he just pointed his head straight up and joined right in.

Brother Patrick smiled and said it must be time to stop praying and start eating, - and they did.


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What Is Your Car Worth 
Most of our customers drive cars that they have paid somewhere between ten and fifty thousand dollars for. A few paid more and quite a few spent even less on their initial investment.

Of course, the concept would be that this has something to do with what the car is worth, but I would like to look at it from a little different point of view.

From my way of thinking, (Ha, you asked for it now), if I make thirty-thousand a year and spend ten of it on a vehicle, that car is worth just as much to me as the guy who makes a hundred and fifty thousand and spends fifty thousand on his transportation. It still represents that large third of my annual income and deserves the same respect as the other guys.

I guess what I am saying is we don't get involved in trying to compare apples to pears. They are all peaches to the people who care about them and have to depend on them for that myriad of roles that the family car plays in our society.

From my point of view it is our job to help you see to it that your investment has a long and useful lifespan, because if it were to expire prematurely it could leave a large empty spot in your lifestyle and your budget.

I know I always talk about safety, which is certainly foremost, but care and maintenance often take a back seat to other items on the family wish list. What your car is really worth is what you would have to sacrifice if you were forced to replace it unexpectedly. We are here to help you make it last until your ready!

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The Case of the Missing Invoice 
It was one of those dark, cold and rainy Friday evenings when daylight savings time was just starting to do its dingy work on a winter looking sky. The boys had finished their cars and were on their way to warm homes, hearts and meals.

I was alone, contemplating another week of leaking intakes and grinding brakes, watching the ice melt in a glass of bourbon on my desk, when a rush of cold damp air let me know the outside door had opened.

Then she was in my office, wet, cold, scared and beautiful. Soft blue eyes spilling tears down those perfect cheeks and that tiny mouth with a sad story to tell. The cubes in my bourbon were melting faster than Al Gores ice cap.

Her husband had left her two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, with just one request: take good care of the car! Now it was horribly broken, a curb had taken out the right front wheel, the engine wouldnt start and it had more lights flashing than the space shuttle. Worst of all, she had lost his radio presets, and she had to pick him up at the airport at 10 am tomorrow.

What choice did I have? I called the boys back in, they were there when the tow truck rolled the cadaver in the front door.

Andrey went to work on the front wheel, Paul had two scanners and the life support hooked up to the failed engine, and Patrick was ordering parts like an artillery observer calling rounds in on an enemy position. Craig was so deep into that body computer looking for lost radio stations that all I could see was the soles of his feet.

My job of course was toughest of all: to get this little lady settled down and ready to face life again. We went for coffee and a tasty biscuit.

By 9 pm I figured it was safe to go back, Craig handed her the keys and she gave his cheek just the softest brush of those tender lips, then with the slightest hint of a smile at me she was gone in the night. A pair of red tail lights fading into the mist on West 21st Street.

I had that gut feeling that something about this picture was not right. I asked Pat if he had gotten a phone number to call next week, just to make sure everything was alright. The look on his face told the whole story. There was no number, no name and no invoice, only the lingering scent of a woman and the memory of that face to offset 12 hours of overtime and a shopping cart of parts. Somehow I didnt feel cheated, and as time has gone by, and I think back on that night, maybe I was overpaid.

While this case might seem a little melodramatic to some, it is totally, word for word true! Only some of the names, facts, time and weather conditions have been changed to suit the writers creative instincts.

One fact, however, that the story does demonstrate, is indelibly true, and that is just how much we value, admire and protect our lady customers. That part, is by no means a figment of my thought dreams. We like them, and I will tell you why.


Women, for the most part pay better attention to their cars, so they know when something changes or is going wrong. Then, not being gender challenged, they bring the car in and ask questions, (rather than waiting for the wheel to come off). When they do come in, they dont feel the need to prove that they know more than we do about cars.

This helps us to avoid having to say things like: Oh no, I think you were on the right track reversing those battery terminals, just a bit of bad luck about the computer melting like that.

Anyway, Ladies we love you and you are always welcome here. . . . . . . Tell us your troubles.

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