Last updated: August 05. 2014 1:48PM - 131 Views
By Bill Taylor

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It seems to me that every so often I need to pause and kinda “catch up” on stuff I’ve written about before. The reason is that folks “buttonhole” me one way or another and ask for an update.

“Buttonhole” is one of those interesting words that has crept into our everyday language with a meaning much different from the original. Used in this sense it means, “To accost or detain a person in order to force them to engage you in conversation.” - source: Online Dictionary of Urban Slang.

About nine years ago we purchased one of those hybrid gasoline/electric cars and I duly reported on its functioning. Well, we now have over 90,000 miles on the vehicle and I have had a number of inquiries from people who wonder if we still have it, how it’s running, and what kind of repair history we’ve had. Yep, we still have it and, except for a few chips in the paint apparently caused by stones, it looks as if it just came out of the showroom.

The current reading of the computer display shows we’re getting 43.6 mpg on this tank of gas - and that’s usual for our local driving and at interstate speeds. If we are driving in the country at 55 mph or thereabouts, the mileage goes up to close to 50 mpg.

As for maintenance, we have had the car serviced regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. The only problem we have had is that at about the five year mark we had to replace the auxiliary battery which is a bit bigger than a motorcycle battery but much smaller than a regular car battery.

It’s important because it powers the car’s major computer system as well as other auxiliary stuff such as the power windows, locks, and radio. We have had no problems with the the main large battery that, combined with the gasoline engine, provides power to the wheels. The manufacturer claims this battery should last about 180,000 miles so we should be good for some years. There was one minor recall the dealer took care of quickly. All in all, we’re very pleased with this car and, despite several inquiries about whether we are interested in selling, we’re keeping it. OK, moving on.

About a month ago I wrote about how Mike the Barber, a victim of prostate cancer - that nearly-ignored mass killer of men - had his personal beautification project just outside his shop. I don’t know how long Mike planted that good-sized patch of sunflowers - it was there as long as I can remember. Anyway, I wrote, “…

I would like to see Mike’s sunflower patch …become transformed into a memorial garden of sunflowers [as] … a fitting tribute to this remarkable friend and neighbor.”

Well, folks, that’s just what’s happening. The last time I drove by Mike’s shop I saw a few mature sunflowers in bloom and figured they were “volunteers” from seeds that were dropped from last year’s crop. I also noticed, however, a new thick growth of vegetation that was too uniform in height and appearance to be weeds. Sure enough, what I suspected turned out to be true - they are sunflowers.

Yep, according to Adele, Mike’s widow, friends of Mike’s have planted a crop of sunflowers as a living tribute to his memory - totally unbeknownst to me and independent of the suggestion I offered. She also told me that she doesn’t know exactly what might be coming up because the individuals may have sown different varieties. It’ll be interesting to see.

One final update. A surprising number of folks have inquired about the outcome of my hospitalization I revealed a couple of weeks ago when I wrote, “Depending on what they find, the “procedure” may take an hour or two and I will spend a single night in the hospital. On the other hand, there is a distinct possibility more extensive and lengthy surgery may be needed which will require an extended stay. I am confident in the ability of this team of physicians and other medical professionals to do their jobs ‘in a proper, trustworthy, or reliable manner.’ ”

Well my confidence was not misplaced. Thanks to the skill of the primary surgeon the “procedure” was sufficient and I am now recovering at home. Sure, I have restrictions for a while - such as not being allowed to drive, swim, or use the vacuum cleaner - but that’s minor. What’s more important is the exceptional, courteous, professional treatment I received through several weeks of diagnosis and testing culminating in the surgery itself. Physicians, nurses, aides, technicians - they all treated me as if I were the most important person in their lives.

Well, there you have it - a quick update on a few items folks have been asking about. Kinda makes a body feel good to think someone actually reads this stuff. At least that’s how it seems to me.

Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at solie1@juno.com.

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