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Two Perham fellas help one damsel in distress

Vehicles are arguably the best inventions ever, next to computers, cell phones, electricity and sliced bread.

But I hate them.

No, not really, but they can shoot right to the top my list of most-hated objects.

Over the weekend, my car started stalling on me. When it stalled I put the car in park, turned the ignition and it would start right up again. Still, I prayed a lot on my way to work on Monday but made it with just one stall and thought all was good.

Until I went out at noon to get some lunch. It stalled several times and a knot started forming in the pit of my stomach.

I hate cars. No, not really. When they aren't working properly, I just get very scared.

There are a couple of reasons for that: I'm female and know nothing about how cars work with their fuel injection and anti-lock brakes and their constant need for oil. How an engine works eludes me (I attribute its workings to magic) primarily because I have never learned how to fix one—and let me quickly say, lest some kind fellow should want to teach me, I don't care to learn.

Secondly, when a car is broken, it usually costs a lot of money to fix it—money I'd rather spend elsewhere.

Last winter I had a problem with my previous vehicle, a van, and it cost me about $800 that I was planning for something else.

So I was very scared when my present vehicle kept stalling. My mind worked overtime on how much the bill would be based on my limited diagnostic skills. The car isn't very old, it was a low-mileage program car so I didn't expect problems with it for another 100,000 miles, at least.

Now, let me clarify something: I don't like vehicles when they aren't working, so I take good care of them; I get oil changes almost on schedule, have its belts, hoses and fluids checked as needed, and it gets washed and vacuumed periodically. And of course I fill it with gas. That is the extent of what I want to do with maintenance of a car. And I don't even do it, but I know how to find people who like to do that sort of stuff.

So, while driving to get some lunch on Monday, I had to restart the car several times, managed to limp into Frank's Auto Body and Detailing in Perham and talked to the guys there—owner Brian Holzer and Mike Riva (who I think installed my auto start in early January). I explained my car's symptoms and was kindly told that the place I wanted to be was just a half a block away. Frank's does auto detailing. Brian pointed out the Hometown Repair sign through the shop's glass door.

(Incidentally, my car stalled right in front of Hometown Repair, but I was fixated on getting to Frank's.)

I didn't think my car would get back there, so Brian kindly called Lee Metcalf, owner of Hometown Repair and handed me the phone.

I again explained my car's problem and Lee said he'd take care of it.

And he did. I got a call mid afternoon from Lee, who is quite cheerful, I might add, and told me the car didn't have any oil, or very little, which caused the stalling. Apparently, when the oil pressure gets low, newer cars stall to prevent a far more costly repair when the engine freezes up.

I asked about the cost, he hadn't figured it up, but it shouldn't be too bad, he said.

Well, the impact of the cost of a repair is dependent on which side of the fence you're sitting: if you have to pay, it is costly; if you are getting paid to make the repair, it is inexpensive.

When I picked up my repaired vehicle later in the day, I was pleasantly surprised: Lee was still cheerful and my bill was affordable.

I called both Hometown Repair and Frank's the next day to say thank you to those who so kindly helped this damsel in distress. I mentioned to Lee that I hate dealing with cars and his exuberant reply: "That's what I'm here for."

Yes it is, and I will offer thanks to God for both Brian and Lee for a long time to come. And I will gladly go back and give them my money.

And I'm back to thinking my car is the best invention ever.