Getting the job done

We love learning at Berkshire Publishing and I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, but it was a bit humiliating to admit that I didn’t know how to change a tire. I had driven out to Southfield, a Berkshire village, with editor Marcy Ross and a visiting colleague, Roger Hanson, to have lunch at a new cafe, the Southfield Store. On the way back, in a hurry because Marcy had an appointment and Roger was heading for the airport, we got a flat tire. There was no cell phone signal so I flagged down a car. Two charming ladies took Marcy and Roger into Great Barrington while I enjoyed the gorgeous summer’s day and outlined a press release.

A police car slowed to ask what was wrong. “I’m waiting for help,” I said, glancing down at the tire. “Do you have a spare?” the policeman asked.

I admitted that I did not know, and that I wouldn’t know how to change it anyway. “But someone from my office is coming,” I said. He nodded, drove on, then turned around and came back. “Want to give it a try?” he asked.

We found the spare tire and then had to locate the manual to find out where the jack was stored. As my new teacher, who turned out to be the police chief of Monterey, another of Berkshire‘s lovely tiny hill towns, was starting to jack up the car, Liz Steffey arrived. Liz is more than 20 years younger than I and and not scared of manual labor. She’ll come in on a Monday morning and tell me that she and Preston have built a deck or put in a stone floor. I couldn’t believe that she too needed to learn how to change a tire. “Where did that gizmo come from?” she asked, pointing to the jack, and was amazed when Chief Gareth Backhaus said there was probably one in her car, too.

I felt that we were not making a good statement about modern females and said we wanted to finish the job ourselves, even though by this time a tow truck had arrived, sent when someone called AAA. But it’s really simple, changing a tire. You loosen the nuts while the tire is on the ground, jack up the car, loosen the nuts the rest of the way and take the flat tire off. You put on the spare, and hold it in place with the nuts, then lower the car and tighten the nuts once it’s down. How could we have not known how to do this?

Funny how Liz and I get into these situations together. And she’s always ready to capture the moment with a photo, so you can see me, above, changing my first tire.