Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. Colorado territory, March, 1872. You have been commissioned to move supplies from Central City to the mining community of Georgetown. An unusually warm wind heightens the anticipation of an early spring after a somewhat mild Western winter. A bright and clear morning as you head to the livery to begin your journey.
The owner of the livery is quite eager for your mission to be successful as he has “kin folk” eagerly awaiting your arrival in Georgetown. He happily offers the loan of some of his personal tools and supplies. A large wheel nut wrench, a gallon of wheel grease and some simple hand tools handed down to him by his father who was once the town blacksmith. Hallowed treasures to him are but extra, useless cargo to you. “No thank ye,” you snort, spitting upon the ground, “not my job to worry with such things, ain’t no blacksmith!” You swing up onto the buck board and with a snap of the reins, off you go. The nerve of such a man to insinuate that a wagoneer of your prowess stoop to working on a wagon, besides, it’s a scant 20 miles to Georgetown! What could possibly go wrong? It’s less than 2 days ride!
Numerous streams cross your path, one of which proved to be quite deep and muddy but you plod onward through the slop even though it was well above your axles. The mud, grit and sand have now inundated every moving part on your trusty wagon but this is nothing for you to concern yourself with. A few miles further and you notice a bit of wobble in one of the front wheels on the wagon. You stop on the trail to have a look noting the wads of sandy grease working their way from the hubs of your wagon. “It’ll make it to Georgetown.” you think to yourself as you begin your journey again but alas as the miles pass the sandy, gritty goop cuts into the wooden spindle like a modern day plasma cutter and sadly you and one of your wheels are soon parted. It quickly rolls out of sight into a nearby ravine.
So there you sit, alone in the wilderness but a resourceful soul such as yourself has a great epiphany! Foraging through the supplies on the wagon you find a bottle of lamp oil and spark a fire to life using two stones. Using blankets from the cargo you begin to signal for help using the ancient art of smoke signals. “Pure, unadulterated genius!” you gloat to yourself as the smoke wafts to the heavens. You are less than halfway to your destination, surely someone back in Central City will heed your aerial call for help! Your estimation of your location, however, is incorrect and you are well out of the visual range of your point of origin but not out of sight from the band of renegade Comanche’s encamped in the hills above you. These noble Native Americans quickly converge on your position and proceed to skewer, bludgeon and beat you as well as relieve you of your scalp leaving you near death on the trail as the sun begins to sink behind the hills. You drag your crumpled body to the remnants of your signal fire as the temperature drops and the clouds roll in and the first flakes of a late winter storm begin to fall. Your trusted horse soon freezes to death subsequently falling upon you ending your ill-fated excursion once and for all.
Two months later after what proved to be a record snowfall has melted a Frenchman by the name of Michel Toup happens upon a broken-down, abandoned wagon and some bones scattered on the ground by wolves. In a nearby bush he spots a tanned leathery clump of hair and skin which he places on his head to shield him from the bright springtime sun. The “toupee” is born and Michel soon retires to his family villa in the south of France content and extremely wealthy. If only you had a wagon jack, a wrench and some grease and possibly a little knowledge you could have, quite possibly, avoided this calamity and made the journey both successfully and alive.
In a world where danger and expense lurk around every turn why would one not want to be at least somewhat self sufficient? Just a little knowledge (anywhere you can get it) and preparedness (such as simple hand tools) can save you so much strife and heartache in life. Be it a light out on your trailer or on your desk, a loose hose clamp or a clogged toilet. Two points to take away from this month’s parable of undeniable knowledge: 1) Total helplessness is so unbecoming. for such a seemingly advanced form of life 2) No job is beneath you if it prevents you from reaching a goal!
‘Til next time, y’all come see us!
The oracle of truth, the bringer of enlightenment….the Tito!