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Down the Road

One thing leads to another
By Milton M. Gross
Jul 1, 2012 - 9:45:01 PM

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One thing leads to another

...including a new Scion and old, old table.

It started innocently enough, when I took Ellie Echo, herself becoming an antique with 121,000 miles under her tires, to the Toyota dealer to have her inspected.

I'd hate to think that when I have 121,000 on me, I'll have to be inspected. But I probably will.

But Ellie's inspection didn't go as planned. The mechanic, maybe a new guy or a guy who had had a fight with his wife before coming to work, found $1,700 worth of repairs to make and for me to pay for to give her a new inspection sticker. Since one of those items was a leak in a rear shock absorber, I doubted the whole deal. I don't think a leaking shock is an inspection-sticker stopper, especially after I looked up Maine inspection standards online and didn't see it listed.

Now the first thing that had led to another thing was that years ago, the man who became the Downeast Transportation manager was talking to me one day in Bar Harbor during the summer Island Explorer bus stint.

"I'd sure like to work for this outfit year-round," he said.

"You probably can," I replied. "Go see Paul, the general manager."

He did and was hired year-round, eventually becoming the year-round operations manager, who manages the Downeast Transportation year-round service as well as the Island Explorer.

So that led to that.

And then, recently I told him about Ellie's misinspection (a new word, according to Spell Check). He suggested I try his mechanic, who lives and whose shop is within sight of the manager's home.

I did, and this local guy turned out to be not only a good mechanic, but he found nothing wrong with Ellie and put a sticker on her now-smiling windshield.

And to that add this.

When we first heard the $1,700 price tag for the misinspection, Dolores and I kind of panicked. I have to be out and on the road by around 5 a.m. summer and wintry winter, snowstorms and all. Maybe it was time to buy a new Toyota critter.

So we bought the new Toyota Scion, which has a 1.8 liter Toyota Corolla motor and will get some 40-45 miles per gallon. She is actually a hatchback with a good deal of room inside -- and nice and flat on top.

Which is leading to another "that."

"Sye" Scion rests at our front porch, waiting for us to unload the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table, while "Kitty" reminds us she didn't give us permission to park on the lawn. Milt Gross photo.

Now we had three Toyotas, and now that we had bought the new one, Ellie didn't seem too bad, after all. She was inspected, still gets her 40-45 miles per gallon, doesn't burn any oil, and has never not started.

And she's cute, says the next character to end this tale.

My oldest daughter operates an agency in the mountains of western North Carolina, and she had told us once in casual e-mail conversation that her old bomb had 209,000 miles under her wearing tires and that her "good old boy" mechanic was frequently coming roadside, trailside, or anotherside to get her started so Lorraine could drive home.

Yes, they have roads and cars in North Carolina. Some of you genuine Maineiacs, who like us haven't left the Pine Tree State for not quite long enough, may not have known that.

So, we offered Lorraine Miss Ellie with her aging and her still getting down the road pretty good talents.

Lorraine is coming next week to pick her up -- and to visit us, stop and see relatives in western Maine, and to take one of them back to North Carolina with her on a vacation. (Hard to imagine leaving Maine vacationland to go on vacation.)

So that led to that.

We knew that "Sye," the name we gave the new Scion, since we always name our cars and canoes and cats and the mother raccoon that still visits us nightly after four years, had plenty of room to tote our canoe and electric outboard to this or that lake for a few hours of fun.

Dolores found a new chore for her. She had been reading a weekly from Camden and noticed an ad for a table and seven Windsor chairs for sale.

Yesterday we Syed (another new word for that Maineiac language we all love so dearly) down to Thomaston.

When we first arrived at the Thomaston house and knocked on both the old metal knocker and the door itself, no one answered. The appointment was for 1:30 p.m., and we were there at 1:20 p.m. Not believing that ten minutes made that much difference anywhere in Maine, we used a cell phone -- that we used to hate but now never leave home without -- to call the homeowner's number. It was strange, hearing the man of the house answer the phone both on the cell phone and about 12 feet away on the phone in the closest room.

The homeowners and we manipulated the the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table out a very narrow door during which I commented to the homeowner wife, who was with me on one end of the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table, "I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie."

"Me too," she replied.

After that all four of us locaded the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table on Sye's flat roof and Sye, Dolores, and I brought her and four chairs home.

And to that, add this.

At home, we grunted and made loud noises to attract any strong, abled-bodied neighbors, who might have wanted to help us get the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table off Sye and into the house. We ended up getting the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table into the house and settled into her new quarters without any neighbors' assistance.

We took the heavy, antique, heavy, cherry dining-room (heavy) table's picture, and there it sits, forever I hope.

Today I make Sunday breakfast, while Dolores tries to catch up with things here in the house.

If we have the energy.

And that series of that's and thises (third new word) led to this.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012

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