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I recently bought a pickup truck, a twenty-five year-old clunker that runs ok. I paid $600 for it and have been slowly tending to the little fixes that it requires. It’s old enough to lack the computerization that puts vehicles beyond the reach of a shade-tree mechanic. My father and his father were both auto mechanics. I had forgotten how much satisfaction I get from doing what they did.
When I was in seminary, I had an old Volvo that faithfully negotiated the winters of Chicago and the potholes of Spring. When I returned South, there was a hole or two where rust had done its worst. My little brother and a neighbor boy offered to patch the car up and repaint it. It was a bold offer from a teenager, but it ran in his blood. They did a great job. He now tends a diesel on a tugboat in the Mississippi.
Towns - Farmer - Mechanics - Bank - Institution
In some rural towns it was not uncommon to see a “Farmer and Mechanics Bank” (there is still an institution that uses the name). It was a collective term that generally described the entire working population. Some people farmed and others fixed. Some did both. It represents a time in which our culture was “hands on.” In our time, it is often as cheap or cheaper to replace something as it is to repair it.
Of course, there are hands somewhere in the chain of events that produce the stuff of our lives. In a globalized economy, the hands may be a world away. Many items, such as clothing and electronics are rarely made in America anymore. My home county in South Carolina once boasted the highest concentration of textile mills in the world. Today, there are none.
People - Farming
We are a people who eat without farming and are clothed without weaving....
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