We visited Bonnie’s hometown in West Virginia a couple of weeks ago. It gave us the opportunity to see what the future looks like.
Bonnie’s sister is now a great-grandma. That gives us a great-great-niece, 8-month-old Mackenize Proffitt. (The name is pronounced Mc-KEN-zee. It’s a long story.) She’s a happy, healthy youngster with the bare beginnings of a head of red hair who notices everything, babbles endlessly and is already pulling up to anything she can grab hold of.
That’s four generations, since Princeton, W. Va., Mayor Pat Wilson’s daughter and subsequently her granddaughter wasted no time being fruitful and multiplying. Since our oldest granddaughters are still in their early to mid teens and the rest of the grandkids younger still, chances of our having a fourth generation in our direct line while we are still around to enjoy it are problematic.
We also enjoyed a cookout with Bonnie’s brother, Mark Wills, and family. It was the first time in quite a while we had seen his son, Bru, who now is adorned with a magnificent “Duck Dynasty” beard.
En route there, however, we had some doubts as to whether we would make it. Just as we were crossing the Ohio River from Ohio to West Virginia, we started hearing a faint squealing noise. The CD player was on full blast, so we wondered if it was getting too hot or something. Turning it down, even off, seemed to make no difference.
The noise kept getting louder. Fearing something bad was happening in the engine compartment, I pulled off the highway, cut off the engine and popped the hood. Everything looked fine, including the fan belts. I restarted the engine. The noise resumed, seeming to come from the dash. I shut off the blower to the air conditioning system. The noise stopped.
Relief! Nothing vital was wrong that would interrupt our trip. But with the bright sunlight, even on a relatively cool day, we had to crack the windows for ventilation.
I remember when car windows were geared for outside air to cool the interior, even the presence of little flaps on the front windows to direct air inside. Not so today; lowering the sculpted windows does little more than create a draft to blow your hair around. As for defogging the windshield when it’s raining or foggy, if your air system blower is malfunctioning, fuggeddaboutit.
Fortunately our extended warranty covered replacement of the blower motor, at least after the deductible was satisfied. And we still had a free oil change left on the package we bought a few months ago. Good news, since we had just invested in a set of tires that set us back a few hundred.
The bad news: When they checked out the car they discovered the front brakes needed replacing. A few hundred more, not covered by the warranty.
If it isn’t one thing it’s another.
Jim Bailey’s column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.