This is a skill, folks. Anybody here ever driven an old Ford truck? Anybody? Especially the pre-70s vintage?
Does the term "twin I-beam" strike fear into your arms? Did you ever have to wrestle a big steering wheel just to go down a straight line? Do you know what I'm talking about here?
Now, while you were sawing away at the wheel, were you able to spot interesting discarded pieces of things stashed inaccessibly with a split second glance? If so, my friend, you either are or have the makings of a slick parts chaser.
Dad's pretty much perfected it over the years. He's also got an undiagnosed A.D.D. which in my opinion makes for great parts chasin. Just a quick turn of the head, just enough time to decide if a second look is needed, and flick back to the road ahead. He cruises along, swiveling his head side to straight ahead to side and back, making sure he sees all the sights and still keep the truck between the yellow line and the white line.
When I was a kid, I used to love heading out to wherever with my dad. Maybe it was just a trip into the next biggest town to the hardware store, but a scenic route could always be found. Also it was almost guaranteed that there'd be a snack involved. Sweetie and I would argue about whose turn it was to go get a bag of chips I mean go to town.
I'd just gawk at everything with my little-kid-eyes, because I did not yet have those finely tuned parts chasin skills. If we were lucky, he'd put on the brakes and take a turn into a gravel lane. I'd sit in the truck and scan for small furry critters to either pet or avoid, depending on their attitude, while he poked around the house deciding what door to knock on. Sometimes he'd reach the person responsible for that perfect piece of whatever it was he wanted out behind the lilac bushes. Sometimes an angry looking old lady would tell him to go away and she don't care about so-and-so's junk. Sometimes nobody was home, so he'd leave and plan to come back another day when he had time for the scenic route.
And usually, I'd have to take a wiz because I begged him to buy me a root beer when he got his coke. He'd find a quiet stretch of road with a deep ditch. The ability to use the outdoors as your, ehem, facilities... that's another valuable skill when you're parts chasin.
Last year, Dad happened to drive by a place with a stock trailer parked out by a fence line beside the barn hidden behind a rock pile or something. He offered $200 and went back there the next day with an air pig to pump up the flat tires so he could haul it home.
He really did score. It won't take much to fix it up. The floor's been removed, and it's waiting for some metal work before we get busy greasing up the axles and suspension. Jethro got to use a chainsaw to take the old plank floor out. Oh what fun- he just doesn't get to use a chainsaw very often in his recording studio!
I hope to be pulling that trailer behind my truck by the end of the summer, with two speckled horses inside.
I've got a long way to go before I am near my ol' man's skill level in parts chasin, mostly because I'm deterred from it by my mechanical ineptitude. You know, once you chase down the parts, you have to use them to fix up the thing you already have at home, or else fix up the new thing you just got. Get it? I can use a hammer and a screwdriver and that's about it. It's sad but I'm coming to terms with it. I really did inherit a love for old things from both my parents. It's obvious in the way I scan the curbs in the subdivision the night before garbage day.
Huh. Looks like maybe I've been developing my parts chasin skills after all.