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The Ball Point Pen
by PamFord Davis 
02/16/09
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Automobiles are complicated pieces of machinery. As we look back to their invention and at the Ford construction of a Model A or a Model T, we quickly realize that many changes occurred to bring us to todays' transportation. We now have all the comforts of home on wheels to make our ride enjoyable. Cars of yesterday did not have luxuries like heat or air conditioning, had no power steering, no power brakes, not even inside ignition. It was the arm twisting crank method to begin each ride! Can you imagine traveling without even shelter over your head? Rain or shine the first horseless carriages were all like open convertibles.

Like any piece of machinery problems develop and repairs are needed. We have owned many used cars and have experienced more breakdowns than I wish to remember. My husband learned by trial and error how to replace fuel pumps and water pumps, to install a carburetor and even did minor brake work. If all else failed we would take the vehicle to a “shade tree mechanic.” I love that description. I can just see see somebody working on a vehicle in the heat of the day under the shade of a large oak tree. Now, with complicated computerized vehicles almost all maintenance and repairs must be done at a state of the art modern repair shop.

Our son has been working on vehicles since he was fifteen years old. His first hands on experience was with our 1967 Plymouth Fury, purchased in the mid 1980's. We were able to buy it from a very conscientious owner. It truly was one of those little old lady type scenarios. The brake peddle did not even show wear and felt like new. After twenty years of mechanic and body work he has built up a solid reputation of quality work. He has restored and sold many vehicles.

One true story of his knowledge happened on I-10 in northwest Florida. He was driving a used car and on his way back home from work. He spotted a dream car broken down and pulled off the road. It was an expensive model, I believe it may have been a BMW. He stopped to see if he could help the stranger. After checking things out under the hood he turned to the helpless owner and asked if he had a ball point pen. The man found one, thinking that some information needed to be written down. To his surprise our son unscrewed the pen and removed the small spring inside. He used the spring to make a quick adjustment to the carburetor! The explanation was that would get him to town and to an auto parts store for needed replacement parts.

No, this is not a “McGuyver” episode. This was just a clever young man and I am his very proud mother!

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