Welcome to Northern Oklahoma a few weeks ago. As you can see, my pops had a little blowout on his way to the lake. Now I don't know if you've spent time in Northern Oklahoma, but this isn't the place you can call AAA and expect things to work out. Towns are small, resources are few and far between, and you're pretty much left to your own devices to figure out your own problems. It's truly a great place to live independent from the cozy comfort of a metropolitan area where everything is just a lazy phone call away.

Back to the good part.

If you don't exactly know what you're looking at there, the rear tire on his trailer spectacularly blew out. The rotating mass of steel-belted rubber then managed to catch the fender, pull it free from it's mount, and even flayed the boat-protecting carpet in the process. It must have been have been one violent bit of carnage. Not only did this masticated tire pull and bend the fender under itself, as he was thirty miles from home with fifteen miles still to get to the lake, the rest of that journey pummeled the fender into a twisted mess.

For the record, when he got to the lake, he unloaded the boat and still spent the day fishing. I guess the older you get, the less off-guard surprises can catch you. It would not ruin a perfectly good windless fishing day.

Skipping ahead, he managed to make do, put on a spare, and make it home later that evening laughing at the sheer astonishment of what transpired that day. This was about the time those stimulus checks went out to social security recipients as April turned to May, so he did what the government stipulated... He looked to spend it locally on a new fender assembly with the local small boat business. After all, if the fender isn't on the trailer, not only is it probably against the law, he would risk flinging damage onto his boat.

The irony of the stimulus and the pandemic... A lot of small businesses weren't open during this time, and beyond that, those who were open had trouble getting the stuff you were looking to purchase since this coronavirus thing had a worldwide pausing effect. He was told it would be six to eight weeks to get his replacement fender.

If you can't pull a boat without a fender, and refuse to spend your retirement time not fishing, there's only one thing you can do... call the next business in the line of supply to the local guy. All in all, the last conversation had was with the boat manufacturer in an attempt to get a whole new trailer since a fender wasn't available. No-dice. Where was nobody available to build trailers as they were also shutdown.

Here's the power play... The final news about not being able to get replacement parts and assemblies came down on Friday, so Friday night, my dad calls me (which is weird in the first place, I almost always call him) and he asks me if I can fix his trailer over the weekend. I'm a ride-or-die son so I load up my tools, make a plan, and head his way first thing Saturday morning.

It took eight hours of beating on metal, welding reinforcements, coat of paint, little bit of celebratory bar-b-que, but all in all, the payoff at the end of those eight long, sweaty, loud, and hot fire and hammer filled hours was the feeling of accomplishing something yourself. It's a good feeling. If you've ever painted a room, you know that feeling. It doesn't matter how big the project is, it feels the same... and I think you'll agree, it was justifiable at the end of the day.

Sure, it's not perfect. When you fold metal 180degrees, odds are you're not getting that ripple out 100%... but as this meant he can get back on the water, it might as well be.

I spent the rest of the evening thinking about how my generation followed another deeper into the habits of just throwing broken stuff away. I figured it would be a good topic of discussion the next day when we go fishing, but the lake trip never came. It seems that my lack of pacing myself didn't earn the reward of a day on the water, but more work to do. Ever lay a natural stone patio? It sucks, but we did it. That is one job I'm fulling willing to pay someone else to do if I ever have the inclination to put one in my own back yard.

All in all, Memorial Day Weekend earned a 10/10.

Moral of the story... Just because something breaks, it doesn't mean it's trash. You can fix just about everything in and around your home yourself. Just remember, when the going gets tough, grab a bigger hammer.