Bad Tires and Good Barbeque


Written Earlier today…

As I write this, I am on the outskirts of Brattleboro, Vermont. I am sitting in a little shack of a barbecue place that has no real dining room, just a tent and a few tables out on a brick patio. Out in front of me is the scene in the picture. I am munching on a turkey barbecue sandwich drenched in sauce, a cold Diet Coke at my left hand. There is a breeze blowing off the river.

While I was waiting for my food. I met a nice couple from New York City, just passing through on a trip up to Burlington and Lake Champlain.

This is their first vacation in years and they just happened to stumble on this place, a novelty to them. We’ve talked about the City, about my life in Virginia, about kids, art and faith. It’s been a nice conversation, one of those conversations that reaffirm your belief that mostly, people are good and pleasant and nice. There is music playing, some guy on a Spanish style guitar, loose and easy.

Sounds Idyllic, doesn’t it? And in a way, it is.

Of course the whole reason I am here is because I blew a tire in nearby Newfane. Yep, I was just cruising along and Pow! Flat and torn up. And the other one on the front  was in bad shape too too, though somehow it was holding air

I was in front of a place called the Kindle Farm. I have passed it dozens and dozens of times since first meeting the woman I love. It’s a school of some sort, and as I coasted to the side of the road, a teacher type and a dozen boys came over and offered to help.

Together we got the flat tire off, and put on the toy tire, the donut, on one wheel. They gave me a cup of water and directions to a tire place in Brattleboro. That tire store, and two others had no use for me, stumbling in all hot and sweaty (I’ve had my top down) mid-afternoon on a Friday. All they wanted was to get finished with the work they had and get home.

Finally, I came on a place called Brattleboro Tire. They were helpful, quick and had two tires that would fit the bill.  Yeah, it’s going to cost some money, and yeah, it has cut into. A day full of work and plans.

Oh, and did I mention that when they got the car on the lift, the back two tires were done in too? Steel belts showing through the inside walls of the tire. Oh yeah, in for a penny, in for a pound. That would be four unexpected new tires.

I was not in the best of moods.

I asked the guy at the tire shop where I could get something for lunch within walking distance and he sent me here. Fuming a little, I made the walk down the hill.

And here I am. The food is good. It’s a beautiful, quirky spot, typically Brattleboro (I love Brattleboro.). My schedule is blown up and I have let it go. There’s no internet. So I can’t work from the lunch spot. I am left with a choice.

Fume and curse. Or just go with it, and enjoy the small gift of this wonderful spot, soft breeze and interesting strangers. To breath in the roses they have planted along the wall.

That’s the story of my life. Likely your too. Bad stuff. Good stuff. The trick is to not let the bad stuff rob us of the good stuff. It is our choice and often that is just what we do, moan and groan and bitch and totally rob ourselves of the good. It’s there. We’re just too busy ranting to enjoy it. Or even see it.

I’m not happy about the tires. But tires wear out. These just did it quietly, on the inside walls where they could not be seen. I’d have to have replaced them sooner or later. In the meanwhile, I’ve had this decadent moment. In a bit they will finish and I’ll put the top down on my car again and cruise home – total therapy for me. Then I will spend the evening with the woman I love – pure joy.

Dang if I am going to let some bad mannered tires blow all that.

That’s kind of my mode these days. I’m a little militant about grabbing joys where they are, no matter what. In the past, I wasted time in my life being angry when things went wrong. What a waste that turned out to be. A waste of all the good blessings God sent my way and I sent up in flames because of my anger. No one lost except me.

No more. Stuff goes wrong. I don’t like it. But I refuse, REFUSE, to let it ruin the good in my life. There’s way too much of it and the only one who can get in the way of me seeing that is me. Don’t think I am noble or wise or any of that. What I am is greedy. I want the best parts of my life and heck if I am going to let the other stuff steal it from me. Not again. I will fight that with every stubborn bone in my 61-year-old body. And I have a lot of stubborn bones.

One last bite of Turkey, and I am on my way.

Have a good weekend.



  1. Ok I know I’m not yo mama but didn’t anyone tell you to keep up with your tires?! Steel belts showing through?! Thomas you’re lucky blessed etc that you didn’t get hurt!! Ok I’m through. 😱😏😤😋

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