You know, this is a very thoughtful question. I've had several
mentors, over the years. One stands out in my mind, and so I'll write
When I was about 13, my family moved house. In the "new house", next
door was and still is a man named Marvin. He grew up in a more rural
area, some where in Pennsylvania. Came to New York State, for
employment. Raised two kids here, and is now retired.
Marvin would spend a lot of time in the garage, repairing vehicles.
He'd buy older cars, and they would need repairs. Sometimes he'd be
doing complicated repairs such as rebuilding engines. When I got a
car to drive, it would need repairs, now and again. I'd go next door,
and push the door bell. Marvin would answer the door, and come out to
see me. He'd tell me how to go about the repair, but would seldom
help. Actually, he'd usually go back in and go back to watching TV.
After a while, I got to where I could do most of the simple repairs.
Which is a very valuable skill, most folks can't fix much on cars now
One day, the area had an ice storm (1991, I think?). My parents
neighborhood had power, fortunately. Marvin looked out, and saw all
the branches down, off the trees. He went to the cellar and got his
chain saw, and put on his old clothes. Also his bandanna, and ear
muffs. Marvin went out to chat with the neighbors. Two doors away,
were a couple of professionals with good jobs, and no repair skills. A
branch had blocked their driveway. She had to be to work (nurse) and
he did also (pharmacist). They were wondering out loud, how they could
get to work. Marvin said "no problem". Pulled the start rope on his
chainsaw, and cut up the branch. That's the kind of gentle, helpful,
and courteous person I've tried to be.
I've succeeded in some small ways. To be more like Marvin. In 1991, I
didn't own a chainsaw. I now have two. And, I've used them for a
"branch down, blocking the door" moment. I've also been able to use
some of my car repair skills, to help others repair vehicles. Mike,
down the street, comes to mind. Teenager with his first car. Needed a
bunch of work, and I was able to help him fix some things. I've more
recently did some repairs for my friend Scott's family hauler station
wagon. That was a good save. His car wasnnt safe to drive, and is now
safe. It would not have passed the state safety inspection. Now, he
can get another year out of it. Scott is unemployed, and money is a
Christopher A. Young
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