Last year Mike repaired my snowblower, and this year he came back, just yesterday, to fix the generator. It now runs like a dream and so here in New Hampshire, I’m finally ready for winter. If you lose power and it’s twenty below, with no furnace going, the water pipes freeze in the walls and burst.
“You know that story you gave me?” he asked. “My kids love it. Every time we get in the car, they want to hear it. Even I like it. The other copy’s in my wife’s car.”
I wasn’t sure what story I’d given him. “Which story was that?”
“Little Proto. They really like Ankles. ‘Play the Ankles part’ they say. You gave me those CDs, remember?”
I hadn’t remembered but did now. “Which story was it?” I asked, having made three Little Proto dinosaur recordings for young kids.
“The one about Magnolia Island.”
Ah, I thought, that was the first one. “How old are your kids?”
“Three and five.”
“Have they heard the other two?”
“You mean there are others?”
“Yeah. Better than the first one, in my opinion. Hang on, I’ll see if I can find them.”
I headed inside and upstairs. Might as well give Mike CDs for his kids. T-Rex Adventure is my favorite, with King Geoffrey the Rex and Old Wrinkles the Triceratops doing their grumpy old men thing while rescuing Proto. I found the two CDs, one with a cracked case but with a playable CD inside (we just sell digital versions these days) and gave them to him.
“My kids are gonna freak out,” he said, smiling and taking them.
“Play the one with the T-Rex on the cover first,” I advised. “It’s really funny in places. You’ll meet Bump. He’s a fun character, like Ankles. Volcano’s Fire is the third story, where Proto’s growing up.”
“You’re welcome. Enjoy them.”
Later, at work inside, I heard the generator humming and went to the garage. Mike was finishing up. “I’ll get some ethanol-free gas up in Goshen like you recommended,” I said.
“Makes a huge difference with engines like these.”
“Okay, great. What do I owe you?”
He’d been at the house for over an hour. I was expecting a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty dollars for the service, since he’d also gotten the snow blower’s drive belts back on. In winter, the snowblower ranks up there with the generator.
“Make it fifty,” he said.
I looked at him.
“Hey,” he said. “You gave me two CDs. My kids are gonna freak out.”