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Stan Gudmundson: An old guy in a red Corvette

December 20, 2017 GMT

I had been on leave at my parents’ home in Peterson for a few days when I began to notice something that seemed a little out of place. Every day at virtually the same time a fellow in new red Corvette drove by our house. There could have been all sorts of obvious reasons why he would drive by at a precise time. He could have been on his way to work or leaving the school or something else.

But that isn’t what stuck out. The driver didn’t belong in a Corvette. Or at least to me he didn’t look like he did. He was well into his 70s or 80s and every year showed. He was gaunt and well-seasoned and wore bib overalls. He appeared to have been someone who had lived a challenging life, someone who had spent his life mostly outdoors. An old farmer I thought still farming or maybe retired.

This occurred over 30 years ago. Today though, with the prices of new Corvettes being what they are it seems the average owner looks more like this fellow. People who can afford these cars now are generally quite a bit older than years ago.

One day after he drove by, I asked my Dad about him. This is somewhat of a second or third-hand account and I am sure I that I didn’t get it quite right.

There was an older doctor from out of state driving to the Mayo Clinic on Highway 52. It was winter and as nasty a winter’s day as can be. We are all familiar with those. Schools are closed and everyone is told to stay home, milk-haulers and deliverymen excepted. Snowing some, blowing like crazy, and way down near zero degrees.

The doctor had a flat tire. He was not dressed for this adventure. Bare-headed, wearing and suit and light coat he was not in a good position but he had an appointment and he needed to be there on time. He got out of his car and began to try change the tire.

A man in an old pick-up pulled up behind the doctor’s car as he was struggling, shivering, and freezing trying to change his flat. The man in the pick-up asked the doctor to get back in his car. He would change it for him. And he did.

When he finished the doctor asked him how much he owed. “Nothing,” said the man in the pick-up. The doctor insisted he pay him something. Nope. The pick-up driver absolutely refused anything. The doctor wouldn’t take no for an answer. But he finally had to give up. Well, okay he said if I can’t pay you anything could he at least have the pick-up driver’s name and address. That didn’t seem too unreasonable for the man in the pick-up so he gave it to him.

Not long thereafter, the doctor died. In his will he gave a few thousand dollars to the man who changed his tire. How much, I don’t know but it was enough for a new Corvette. The man in the pick-up had always wanted one but never could afford such an expensive car. Now he could. He bought one.

And for some time thereafter, he took his Corvette out on a daily spin that seemed to include the same route. Which passed by my parents’ house at very much the same time everyday.

Who the pick-up driver was and what happened to him, I don’t know. But some in the local readership area do know. I would be interested in more details.

A couple of years ago, I bought an old tractor at an estate auction in Wisconsin. I didn’t have anything to haul it home on so I had to return to my farm to get a trailer. I arranged a pick-up time with a fellow who was handling some of the auction details.

The man who helped me had a farm adjacent to the farm where the old tractor was located. It is a green tractor by the way. In addition to his own work, he had helped the deceased farmer with his farmwork for a long, long time. Just days short of 40 years if I remember correctly.

Given the length of time he had worked for this farmer, I , being nosy, wondered if he had been given anything in the estate. He had. He was given the farm we were on. The rest of the estate had been divided up among the deceased farmer’s children.

I wondered if such a gift had been expected. No, the man told me. He said that he and the deceased farmer had always gotten along very well together but he never expected, or even considered, anything like this.

Two happy endings. But I can’t help but wonder why “progressives” want to government to steal the property and wealth of someone who dies. Why not, “if you like your assets, your heirs, and others designated, can keep what you spent a lifetime creating?” Government shouldn’t be profiting from our deaths. No by even a nickel. But if anything is done in this regard it would probably be akin to the honesty of the, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” promise.