Working a second job wasn't what I had expected of life at age 46 but my business had gone through a real rough spot so I jumped at the chance for some additional income, even if it was for just a few weeks. The 80+ hour work weeks grew old quickly.

It was a cold Sunday evening when I made my way to my car on the far side of the frozen parking lot. The temperature couldn't have been over 10 degrees. Exhausted, I fell into the driver's seat and turned the key - click, click, nothing. Again - click, click, silence. I turned on the headlights to confirm what I already knew - the battery had breathed it's last. I pulled out my cell phone and called Steph. Within a few minutes I could see the profile of her Land Rover in the distance.

The daylight was gone and I worked with a flashlight propped in the engine compartment, busting my knuckles and dropping tools as I wrestled with the battery leads which had been welded by time to the terminals. At last I conceded defeat. We rode home in silence as I pondered my predicament and dreamed of ways to inflict the worst kind of revenge on that sad excuse of a conveyance I reluctantly call "my car". I knew that a hundred buck battery would immediately double the value of the old crate.

Back home, I picked up the phone and called my dad. At age 84, he has Meniere's Disease which gives him perpetual vertigo so he's not able to do mechanical work; but of greater import, he lives in North Carolina and I in Ohio. My dad is a retired aircraft mechanic and as my mom always said, he fixes a screen door as if it has to fly. He talked me through a checklist of items and apologized for not being near enough to fix it for me. I could hear the genuine sorrow in his voice. As dads, we always want to be there for our kids.

So, armed with limited mechanical ability and a few things to do, I drove back and quickly got the car started. As I parked it in the garage, I decided not to worry about it until the following weekend. Three times that week I got a call from Dad asking for a status report on the car. He was worried to death that I might not be able to fix it. Finally, the next Saturday I got about the business of buying another battery and installing it. Much to my chagrin, the car still wouldn't start.

Back on the phone, I went over the entire process with Dad and he quickly determined what I had done wrong. I'm sure he was thinking, "Hey doofus, you have to clean the leads with a wire brush and use contact jelly to make a good connection." To his credit, he never said it and within 15 minutes, the old beater was running.

A few hours later I was wandering through Walgreens when my cell phone rang. It was my 21 year old son, Brad. "Dad, I've got a problem with my bank account." Suddenly, the helpless feelings began to creep over me. Brad lives in Indiana, not close enough for me to be there in a few minutes. I was really sad I couldn't be there to resolve the problem for him but I gave him a list of things to do (since I'm more familiar with banking than cars) and off he went. 30 minutes later I called him back to see if things were straight now - no answer, voicemail. Every 15 minutes I called until I finally got him. Situation solved - he had followed my advice and was back on his feet.

Middle age is a busy time of life. It's fraught with worries and responsibilities that I could never have imagined when I was 25. Sometimes the pressure is downright overwhelming. But as I reflected on the events of the week, I realized that this might be the best time of my life - I get to be the man in the middle.

In generations past, men worked hard and died young. It was a rare thing to see one's dad get old and sons grown to adulthood, all at the same time. This time won't last forever - in fact, it may not last for long. I'm resolved to make the most of it and that's as close as I come to making resolutions of any kind.

Views: 11

Comment

You need to be a member of Art of Manliness to add comments!

Join Art of Manliness

Comment by Rev. Craig Donofrio on February 19, 2010 at 8:32pm
Myles, You're a blessed man to have a father still living and a son to pass that masculinity that you received to one who is receptive.

I sure miss my dad - enjoy yours as much as you can while he is still with you, life is short.
Comment by Christopher on February 19, 2010 at 4:33pm
Awesome reflection, Myles!
Comment by Brett McKay on February 19, 2010 at 3:11pm
Great post, Myles. I've always like the idea of the generations being a chain, and how each man needs to be a strong link in that chain.
Comment by Myles Bancroft on February 14, 2010 at 8:34pm
Thanks Gentlemen.
Comment by Harry P Flashman on February 14, 2010 at 9:12am
This was a great piece. Not something I`ve thought much about, but you are as far as I`m conserned onto something. Thumbs up and all that... :-)

Latest Activity

Specs replied to Jad Asmar's discussion Manly Gifts for Around 30 Bucks?
"Here's some Ideas. alcohol flask flashlight food junk food pocket knife pint glasses compass whiskey stones wallet screwdriver set beanie scarf hatchet personalized lighter good cigar (if they smoke them)"
45 minutes ago
Tyler joined Chad's group
Thumbnail

Hairy Men

The current trend in fashion is to be hairless and do do whatever necessary to remove hair from your body.  I am proud of my hair! Be proud if your hairy body too. Wear your membership to this group likes badge of honor.See More
1 hour ago
R. Max 2.0 replied to Jad Asmar's discussion Manly Gifts for Around 30 Bucks?
1 hour ago
Jad Asmar posted a discussion

Manly Gifts for Around 30 Bucks?

My friend is looking for a gift that she can get for a White Elephant party with her boyfriend's band. The limit is 30 bucks and I'm kind of out of ideas. They're a group of small town guys in their 20s and in a rock band. I was thinking something camping/outdoors related, but I'd like to see what you guys might have in mind. See More
2 hours ago
A Country Dude posted a status
4 hours ago
Dave left a comment for Mark Smith
"Mark, my pc was very low on battery last night. Sorry, I didn't get back to our conversation. Happy Holidays. Chat soon, Dave."
10 hours ago
Dave commented on thehuhman's group Men Over 50
"Happy Holidays! Here's to hoping you hold up under the stress that may come with this time of year. Take time to relax, laugh and spend time with the ones you love to be with."
10 hours ago
Dave commented on Sammy B.'s group Weight loss
"Back from a Cruise. Lost 4 lbs. My goal is 165lbs. down to 178.  BTW, any other men getting strange looks when admitting you are on a diet during the Holidays? lol!"
10 hours ago

© 2016   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service