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May 20, 2022

Worthy to Print Column | Cleaning Out the Garage

It was only a couple of years ago when this whole brouhaha about masks and maintaining a proper distance between you and your loved ones started that I wasn’t too concerned. We Americans have faced plenty of tough times during the past 200-plus years. This virus would be handled pretty quick because we had a strong government and what we thought were competent leaders. 

Well, I thought that at first. I figured that I could use the down time. That is the time where we couldn’t do anything but get vaccinated or stay away from all our friends; I was going to finally clean my garage. I’m a garage kind of guy and enough of an Okie that I never throw anything away.

You never can tell when you might need an underwater spear gun bought back in the ’70s. It was bought when I used to go scuba diving in different places along our California coast. Did you know that the Monterey Bay is one of the finest diving spots in the United States? The kelp forests in the bay is home to an astonishing amount of fish, and the fact that you speared your supper makes the meal taste better. 

If you know where to look, you might find an old armored personnel carrier that was sunk in the Bay to attract fish. It worked like a charm. You could use your dive knife and just stick the one you thought would taste best. If you have ever consumed a fresh deer that was obtained after sitting in the snow, you may know what I’m talking about. At least when you are wearing a wet suit you are warm … kinda.

Joe Locatelli once showed me a photo of him sitting with his back to a tree almost covered up by snow. When I asked if he was having a good time, he replied that it was perfect for him, so I guess being cold is part of the hunt. No matter where you hunt.

Anyway, back to the garage. I have lived here for over 30 years and I have taken apart my truck a couple of times. Right after I wrecked it, I took it down to the frame and rebuilt it again. In all that time I have not thrown away any parts that I might use if I ever do it again.

I kept telling my personal nurse that all we have to do to clean the garage would be to have a garage sale. I don’t know many folks that live in South County that own a 1956 Ford truck, but I know two that live here in Gonzales. True, there is a lot of jetsam and flotsam. Things that might not be of use to anyone for any project, but to me each piece seems to be made of gold.

Once, when I needed a little pocket money, I sold a pair of alligator-belly cowboy boots that were brand new. I thought I would never wear them again and I got a good price for them, but I really miss them being in my closet. That’s the way I feel about parts for my truck. Fifty years ago when I first bought that truck, I could stop at any wrecking yard and usually find a couple of the old F-100 trucks to add to my pile of treasures. 

Nowadays, if there is a wrecked truck, it will cost you a king’s ransom just to buy one part. There are even companies that made a lot of money by frequenting these yards and buying everything they had for sale. I know of three that have built serious businesses around this model. They even have catalogs of these old parts for sale.

I’m in the midst of putting a new steering wheel on my old truck. If you can’t make it go faster, just make it prettier. Buying the steering wheel isn’t enough. Then you have to buy the mounting kit, and don’t forget you have to have a horn — more money. The steering column on my truck came from a 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. It’s pretty difficult to find any wrecking yards with any 1975 year cars. 

I did find a place where I can buy a new steering wheel, so that will be my next project. If you have any old Cordoba parts, please let me know. I’m sure I can find something in my garage to trade you for them. In fact, I just walked into the garage to see if there were any treasures that I could convince someone to buy from me. No luck. 

I can’t believe how much money I have put into that old truck. I’m sure I could have made payments on a new F-150 for about 10 years and it would be paid for and I wouldn’t have to put all my time into finding a part that I sat down somewhere and now have no idea where it is.

Not all my problems are from trucks. A lot of my problems are about … let’s see now … hmm … I forgot. In fact, that is the biggest reason I have problems is that I keep forgetting and then discovering, after I have dumped the trash, that I can’t find the part. 

My neighbors are not taken aback any longer when they walk outside and see my garbage cans awaiting the truck and the only thing in my garbage can is two feet sticking out while I’m moving stuff around to see if I can find that washer or bolt or whatever it is that I can’t find. Of course, my neighbors are used to me fixing my horn while it is blasting out the melodious tones of an air horn.

Well, times up! I have a collect call coming in from some place in Montana where I heard they have a few old Chryslers waiting to be crushed … ah shoot! They probably won’t have a new horn button for a 1975 Chrysler Cordoba. You wouldn’t happen to know of anyone parting one out would you?

God Bless.

George Worthy
Gonzales Columnist
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