Was it the fuel filter?

On my way out of town, the car stopped. All the lights were blinking and I could not get it to start again. Nothing I did could make it go any further than the city limits. It may have been divine intervention or just a clogged fuel filter, but my car was not going anywhere soon.

I had arranged appointments with some nursing and convalescent homes to train their maintenance people to properly and easily maintain their floors to a high gloss found only in high polished marble; at the same time, I wanted to see if a few of the residents would chat with me. But my car was not going anywhere soon.

I have always wanted to enter a nursing home and talk with the lonely people housed there to find out their stories. But with all the privacy matters, we are closing the door to our heritage and their stories will die with them. No longer can you take paper and pencil and interview an interesting person without signing all the proper documentation to avoid a lawsuit later because you have invaded their privacy.  

Can you imagine asking them for glimpses of their life? I’m sure we all would be surprised to find out they were practicing lawyers, judges, soldiers, architects, designers, wives, mothers, husbands, plumbers, cleaners and drivers and so on.

But my car was not going anywhere soon. I called home and had no help there, except a suggestion to call the auto club to see if they could make it work. After waiting for over an hour, a tow truck appeared and a slovenly dressed man asked for my membership card and wrote all the information before he asked what the problem was.

I suggested perhaps my fuel filter was clogged and he just smiled and shook his head. I’m sure he was thinking a female was not going to tell him what was wrong. After tinkering with the key and verifying the car would not start, he opened the hood and looked inside trying to decide where to begin looking for the problem.

After a few minutes of disconnecting and reconnecting all sorts of cables under the hood, he was not about to touch the fuel filter; he was not going to prove me right.

He said the best thing to do is to tow it back to his garage and see what he could do in the next few days. I was not happy and told him so, because I had a full schedule for the week. Then, I asked if he had taken a look at the fuel filter and he said it was not the problem because he knew about this type of car. I insisted he look at the fuel filter and by the look on his face I felt he had finally gotten the message. He then proceeded to take a bunch of tools out of his truck and tinkered some more.

It was the fuel filter, but he was reluctant to admit it. After a couple of hours, he returned with a new one, installed it and left. My car started, continued on the road and I had a wonderful week.

Unfortunately, the guardians at the places I visited were not amenable to my suggestion of chatting with their residents because of privacy laws. It’s sad their stories are not being told.

(Italic) Weber, a former Cedar County Republican reporter, continues to contribute occasional columns.

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