Monday, December 14, 2015

A minor footnote in the history of Guelph

You know how it goes...

You have a couple beers, maybe you burn one...

Or two.

And before you know it you're meandering down Memory Lane.

That's what happened to me tonight.

Memory Lane.

One of the lessons I learned early from the Guelph Old Boys was if you didn't stand up for yourself you were finished.



I remember the day Mr. Brown from B&R Motors came down to John's Supertest where I worked to fill up his Lincoln Mk III.

Came to $14. I remember it like it happened yesterday.

B&R was the Lincoln-Mercury and Ford Truck franchise in Guelph at the time, and Mr. Brown was the big dog in that establishment.

Comes down to John's Supertest, where I'm the pimply-faced teen afternoon shift boss. Fills up his Lincoln and hands me an envelope. Hops in his Lincoln and heads back to B&R.

In the envelope is a note; please deduct gas from Crawford's bill at B&R.

Crawford was the day shift boss. Used to work for Mr. Brown down at B&R Motors. Guess they had some unresolved issues.

Unfortunately, I was responsible for the till on my shift. That 14 bucks was coming out of my pocket.

Crawford Vollet was kind of a hard luck guy. His wife Jean used to show me the pictures of the life they once had; big house, new Cadillac, thriving aggregates business.

Then it all went for a shit, which is a great story for another time, and Crawford was reduced to becoming a truck salesman for Mr. Brown, and when that went off the rails, a shift manager at John's Supertest.

The same place where I was the zit-faced teenage know-it-all afternoon shift manager.

So I have a problem.

Mr. Brown, who is sort of a big deal in town, just stiffed me for 14 bucks. He thought he was getting it out of Crawford's hide, but no. It was coming out of mine.

So a couple of days later when the tank was near empty, I drive my '67 Chev Bel Air wagon down to B&R Motors. Pull up to the pumps.

Filler up!

$16.50. I give the pimply teen who pumped the gas a two dollar bill, two quarters, and an envelope.

Next day Mr. Brown shows up at John's Supertest.

There ensued a heated debate between him and Crawford, a debate that involved a lot of shouting and arm-waving on both sides.

But neither of them ever brought the matter up with me.

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