March 2012 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Seeing as how March is now upon us and St. Patrick’s Day is a short two weeks away, that means three things: the Indians are deep into spring training, we are due at least one more arctic blast before spring sets in and I need to get cracking on finishing the winter upgrades to Bridget my 1973 MGB.

Yes, I was able to hang onto her after last year’s unpleasantness and she rewarded me with the best driving experience of my life.  I’m not talking about 6000 rpm hole shots or wheel- screeching cornering.  I’m talking about the moment when the machine becomes an extension of the man.

I left Elyria west on US 20 to Norwalk bound for East Harbor.  The day was as crystal clear and cold.  It didn’t matter.  This was going to be the last ride of the year and I wanted to run her into a lather.

My deep cup of caffeinated heat kept me warm until I turned north on 250 and stopped for a refill.  By now the sun was close to zenith and the 100 ponies under the bonnet were just getting going.  They didn’t need extra coaxing.  They were running on 93 octane double espresso.

On the stretch between Norwalk and Sandusky I let the horses run free.  I don’t know what I topped out at but the way the mailboxes whizzed past it was close to 105.  I felt like Michael Shumaker testing an F1 at Monaco.  Every twist, every turn was anticipated and executed to perfection.  Absolutely heart in your mouth thrilling.  Route 2 and 58 were at a saner speed but the Edison Bridge made for a great open run.

I let the horses rest at East Harbor.  They earned it.  I walked up and down the deserted beach and felt invigorated by the warm sun, cold breeze and calm lake.  Magical.

When the fully rested horses roared back to life and I pointed them east toward Cleveland, they never missed a beat.  58 back to 2 and then 6 west of The Point.  The route was the old roadbed of the Lake Shore Electric Railway, a fact given away by its broad expanse.  The gentle undulations and easy sweeps passed in an instant as Bridget kicked up fallen foliage in her wake.

Coffee, this time from Caribou in Rocky River.  I met a guy who used to sell MGs for Fred Baker.  We chatted for a few minutes and he told me how the cars run better with the parts we have now than they did from the factory.  Maybe that’s why BL failed.

With the sun setting and temperature dropping, I opted for the parkway to Strongsville and Bridget’s winter home.  I gunned her one last time through a series of tight turns and she never flinched.

Spring can’t come too soon.

Leave Friday, April 20th open on your calendar for the 2012 Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner.  It will be held at Frank Sterle’s Slovenian House at 1401 East 55th Street.  Cocktails will be served at 5:30 and dinner at 6:30 pm.  The cost will be $30 for active members and free for retirees.  This is a great opportunity to get together and hear the history of Local 17 from the men who made it.

As many of you know, UFCW Local 880 has settled their strike with Rite Aid.  Their members are back to work under the terms of a new contract.  Here is another example of union brothers and sisters standing together and winning for their brethren.  Congratulations to UFCW.

As of this writing there are twenty-four mechanics out of work.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety….

Don

dknapik@windstream.net