Uncle Joe

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When I was in high school, I had a 1956 blue and white 4-door Chevy which was a very clean car. Even though it was clean, it was not very dependable. I can remember having lots of maintenance problems with it.  I was very fortunate because my uncle Joe was a master mechanic and he would always stop by on the way home from work to help me keep the car running. 

One day I called my Uncle Joe to tell him that I needed his help with a problem that I was having with my car.   He apparently felt that it was time for me to become more accountable for the upkeep of my car.  Rather than just saying “O. K. I will stop by on my way home” he said, "I will stop by on my way home but ... this time I am going to fix your mind!”  

Well, I caught part of that but I had no idea what the h--- he meant.  I thought about it for a brief two seconds and passed it off as not important.  When he arrived I was very happy! I had a hot date that I could not afford to miss.  Upon his arrival I could tell that he was in a hurry. 

After polite greetings, he reminded me that he had stopped not to fix my car but to "fix my mind!”   “Fix my mind”, under my breath I said, “I have no idea what the h--- you are talking about old man, but what I need right now is for you to fix my car, my date is hot and ready and anyway, you got forever to fix my mind!”

He told me that the mechanics of a car is very much like the mechanics of the human body in that the human body will always give you some small warning signs before it begins to encounter pain.   He said that, "In other words, you should never assume that something major is wrong with your car until you have checked out the minor problems that could have gone wrong".  He went on to say that if I did not notice anything major that has happened, assumed that there is only a minor problem and proceed to try and locate that problem. 

Prior to departing for home, he said “here is what I want you to do”:

“First, sit down for a moment and think through what could have gone wrong just prior to the problem”

“Second, retrace your steps and recheck the repairs that you have already done to point”

“Third, fix the problem”

“Forth, regarding your date, I hope I haven't added to the delinquency of two minors”

My uncle then said, "If you will always looks at things in this manner, no matter what area of your life they fall in, you will more than likely always be able to "Fix" your own problems!” 

It was within ten minutes after my uncle’s departure that I had my car running like a charm.

It has been many years since I had this experience with my uncle and I can honestly say that it was one of the most important "Pivotal" moments in my life. 

We all love you Uncle Joe ... you are still in our minds and hearts. - Carlton Lee Dowdy

PS:  I was blessed to have an awesome mother and father and three great uncles as well as an angle of a grandmother.  This story is about my Uncle Joe who was one of the three most important men in my life.  If you like this True Story, pass it on!