Gardener’s Diary

I saw two of my Master Gardener friends at the Barnstable Harvest Fair yesterday, one of whom, Inez Narbis, was my teacher a couple of years ago.
Inez is an amazing woman: partially paralyzed in a horseback riding accident years ago, she nonetheless maintains a demonstration garden at the Fairgrounds, while keeping up with her full-time job and other County Extension volunteer work.
I see Inez maybe 3-4 times a year at various events, and she’s always kind enough to give me a big hello.

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Job Well Done

For the first time since the Democratic primaries, I’m starting to believe that John Kerry was the right man for the job.
Almost every news outlet, including Fox, judged him the winner in last night’s Presidential debate. The only waffler I’ve found so far is Sumner Redstone’s (“the re-election of President Bush would be best for Viacom’s interests”) CBS.
And good for the networks for using split screens during the broadcast, thus ignoring the rules of the discredited Commission on Presidential Debates.

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Values Clarification

Okay, it’s the day of the first Presidential debate, and one hopes that by 10 o’clock tonight, the much-coveted Undecideds (estimated at 20%) will close Bush’s current 6% lead over Kerry.

That being said, I’m taking a few minutes to thank the folks at Midas Muffler in Falmouth, who once again, have kept my 214,000+ mile Subaru on the road without soaking me for unnecessary repairs.

A couple of days ago, I started hearing a rotating noise on right turns. It sounded like about a $300 job, maybe a bad wheel bearing, CV joint or boots.

Midas couldn’t find anything wrong with those and suggested a minor adjustment in another part, inviting me to come back if the noise was still there.

It’d been about 31,000 miles since I had the front brakes done, so I asked them to worked on the brakes instead. Again, I was expecting a $300+ job, figuring the rotors needed replacing.

The bill came to only around $200, though, because the mechanic was able to resurface the rotors.

This is the second time that Midas has saved me significant coin by using their ingenuity – the first was to repair a muffler assembly that another shop told me was completely shot.

To be sure, on a day when major world events are going to be debated, it may seem trivial to praise honest dealing by competent people who make careful recommendations based on facts and experience.

Frankly, I don’t care if the folks at Midas go windsurfing on weekends, or if their spouses are African-born heiresses. I don’t care if they ride their bikes on a private ranch somewhere or pretend to use a chainsaw.
I don’t care what mechanic some older relative swears by, or what the waiting room looks like, or whether the staff at Midas prance around in strategically padded flight suits, or what Rush Limbaugh says about them.

I just care that their expertise provides me with reliable, safe, relatively inexpensive daily transportation. In other words, I care that they know how to do their jobs well.

So, I ask myself, it really too much of a stretch to expect American voters to use similar criteria in electing a public servant? Really?