First Words

When the odometer on my truck turned over to 300,000 km recently, I stopped and took a picture of the dashboard. It seems that after 11 years, you and your truck can become friends. But that friendship was tested last spring when I headed off through the south section of the farm. The roadway through the bush seemed okay at first – a little overgrown but nothing my trusty truck and I couldn’t manage. But before long I was trapped. I tried backing up, but I broke the mirror and crunched the door. I tried going forward and got caught between two saplings. I abandoned ship and headed home in tears. The next morning, the first thing I did was walk back to the woods with the chainsaw and cut my way out. The second thing I did was to drive my battered truck to the local auto body shop in Centreton.

Herb Beitinger came out to the parking lot wearing his customary paint-splattered lab coat, surveyed the truck and in his thick German accent said, “Well, no question…it’s a write-off.” I gulped. And then he smiled and said, “But don’t worry, we will work on it.” By the end of the week, my gleaming truck sat outside the shop waiting for me.

Every vehicle we’ve ever owned spent time at Herb’s auto body shop – he was a master of his craft. But he was more than that, he was as friendly and fair a man as any community could wish for. It seems that everyone at Watershed has taken their vehicle to Herb for repair at one time or another. We were all saddened to hear that Herb passed away in February at the age of 83. He will be missed.