Anyway, last week I told the story about the bees in my jeans in the berry patch and this person read the email, then, the next time he saw Watson he said, “Did you know your wife was running around the berry patch with her pants off?” Gah. So, the next time I saw Watson he said to me, “Why were you running around the berry patch with your pants off without me?”

Goodness. Anyway, I can’t have people telling on me like that. ; )

I’ve mentioned before that I talk politics with my kids. We have lively, friendly discussions and I love that they can back up their opinions and beliefs with facts and common sense.

Last November they were pretty fired up about their guy who was running for president.

We have a long driveway in PA and there are no houses in sight at the end of it. Just a unmarked road that is not busy. 

Still, they put up those elections signs for their dude, you know, the ones with wires running around them that you stick in the ground.

Just a show of support for the fellow they were voting for.

That lasted a couple of days, and then the signs disappeared.

So they put more signs up.

Same – lasted a couple of days and then they disappeared.

Meanwhile, a mile out the road – there are two farms and a lot of corn and bean fields in that mile – our neighbor put signs up for the other guy.

Those signs didn’t disappear when my boys’ signs did.

So they took them.

When I heard this, I mentioned that, you know, that’s stealing. They preferred to believe a different “truth” – they called it trading.


Anyway, this went on for a week or two – my boys and this neighbor putting signs up and taking the others’ down.

Finally, our neighbor put a bigger sign up – one that had wood stakes in the ground, while my boys put the smaller wire signs from our drive the whole way out to the road – not quite a mile – probably forty signs. The boys did this after they were done at the garage, maybe 8:00 in the evening.

The next morning before 7:00 am, the signs were gone.

So, the boys went out and pulled out the neighbor’s stakes and stole, um, traded, his sign.

Well, Watson happened to be up in PA with our telehandler, using it to clean the chicken barns. The boys borrowed the telehandler and took their signs down the road, lifting the bucket up and using a staple gun to nail their signs up near the tops of the trees and telephone poles along our road. They thought they were pretty clever because their nemesis was not going to be able to get those down.

Later that week, the neighbor had something new out the road. He’d dug holds, cemented 4X4s in the ground and had a big, 8X10 foot political sign stretched between them.

The night they saw it, my boys took two five gallon buckets of gasoline out, set one beside each post, dripped a trail of gas back about fifty feet and lit the trail. Then they took off running to where they’d parked their truck.

When my son was telling me this story, I had to ask, “So, did those trails of gas work? Like in the movies, how they lay a trail and light it and the fire goes up the trail and actually explodes the buckets?” (I was asking because I’d tried that when I was a kid and couldn’t get it to work. Maybe I didn’t use enough gas.) 

My son said, “Yeah. It worked just fine. Except maybe we should have made the trail a little longer.”

“Oh?” I said. “Why?”

“Because after we lit it, we ran as fast as we could and we still felt the air and heat from the blast.” I think it singed the hair off the back of his neck. 

The brother driving the getaway car who was parked a little farther away said it lit up the whole night sky. They were pretty pleased with themselves. 

Now, I feel like I need to interrupt this story to let you know that I always told my boys (so often, I know if I were to start saying it to them today, they would finish my sentences), “If a policeman tells you to stop, you STOP. If he tells you to drop, you DROP. If he tells you to roll over, stand on your head and whistle Dixie, you do it IMMEDIATELY.” (I feel like I just got political there, but honestly, where I come from, that’s just respect and common sense. Things might be different in your neck of the woods. Good on you.) Anyway, I also told them, “If you do something that’s going to get you arrested, you’d better hope they skip the trial and put you in the electric chair immediately, because when they let you go and your mother gets ahold of you, the electric chair will be a relief from what she’s going to do to you.”

I have no idea why my kids think I’m scary.

Anyway, back to the story.

The boys were working on rebuilding a motor when the State Trooper showed up at our garage.

The telehandler was back up at the chicken barn where Watson was using it to clean the barns. (I know what you’re thinking, and yeah, I would have laughed so hard, too, but that’s not what happened. ; )

So, the Trooper walks in and I know my boys were surprised. There was no faking that. 

Anyway, the Trooper asks my middle son if he’d been in a skid loader putting the political signs up on telephone poles and trees.

My son answered honestly, “No, Sir.” (He wasn’t in a skid loader – it was a telehandler – and he wasn’t the one running it or in the bucket putting the signs up – he’d been directing traffic. : )

The Trooper said, “Do you guys have a skid loader here?”

Again my son answered honestly, “No, Sir.” (Our skid loader was in Virginia since we had the telehandler in PA.)

So the Trooper told them that someone had called the police and said that people were using a skid loader and putting signs on telephone poles and trees and the caller was sure it was the people who owned this garage. 

My middle son is a lot like me and doesn’t say too much, and he’d not commented one way or the other before the Trooper said, “But there’s nothing illegal about that. The person who called wasn’t the property owner, and as long as the people who own the property don’t have a problem with it, there’s nothing for me to do. We just have to investigate every call we receive.” (We knew the property owners; not only did they not have a problem with it, the signs are still up to this day.)

The Trooper was from a trucking family and he and the boys talked trucks and trucking, laughing and drinking sodas for a while before the Trooper reluctantly had to leave. He never mentioned the explosion out the road.

So, kind of a little aside to this story…I was in PA last week and I stopped at the garage to talk to my boys. My oldest son wasn’t there – maybe I’ll say a few words about him on Thursday – but my younger two boys chatted with me for a bit.

In the course of their conversation, they mentioned that they had a dude driving the whole way from Ohio to our shop that afternoon to get his tires stretched.

Now, I’ve always thought it was neat (and kind of funny) that guys will doll baby their trucks up kind of the way women decorate their houses (or themselves). I thought it was just truck guys, but a computer dude sent me a picture once of a computer he’d built himself. Wow. Every bit as nice and fancy as my boys’ trucks. Anyway, I think it’s a guy thing.

So, I’m not entirely sure what a “stretched” tire is, but apparently it’s a thing. And, as my boys were telling me about it, they mentioned that not too many people know how to do it, but they’ve figured out the secret and have been having a little side hustle going on where guys are driving long distances to their shop to get their tires stretched.

They’re making some easy money on it.

One of the reasons not many people can do it, is because it takes the industrial size air hose we need for our trucks. 

But that’s not the secret.

I should know better, but I ask, “So, what’s the secret?”

My middle son, the one who doesn’t say much, gives me that slow grin. “Lighter fluid.”


I should have left it alone, but I say, “What do you do with it?”

“We put it in the tire, then set it on fire. It explodes and stretches the tires.”

Right. You know those questions you ask then wish you hadn’t?

I say, “That sounds dangerous. Doesn’t the tire catch on fire?”

“Nope. The fluid burns out before it gets hot enough to burn rubber.” He grins again. “I did burn all the hair off my arm when I didn’t quite get enough lighter fluid in this one tire. I didn’t realize the fire in the tire wasn’t burned out before I started adding more. That explosion was a surprise.”

Oh, boy. 

They told me about their Fourth of July, too, (I already saw videos, but there was more) but that’s not really something I can talk about in here. 

Alright, don’t forget to grab my Small Town Boys box set for $.99. The three stories in it are about brothers who own a garage, and maybe I based them a little on my own boys. This is definitely a series that I absolutely love in a personal way.

Also, check out the sample for Misty Mornings and if you haven’t gotten the audio for Yesterday’s Treasures, you are definitely missing out.