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Of all my uncles, I spent the most time with Uncle Rudy.

Part of that was because he lived less than a mile from us, but a much bigger part of it was he was both fun to hang out with and he was always willing to help me with my cars.

He would help me repair my cars correctly; his own cars, not so much.

Uncle Rudy: The Fix-It Man

Uncle Rudy was sort of a philosopher, a decent story teller, and somewhat a comedian. He certainly was a fix-it man, though. He didn’t even need the correct parts to accomplish many of his repairs.

I used to kid him that Jerry ought to be happy that he came first. If he hadn’t, we would call it "Rudy-rigging."

Repairs with the correct parts were a snap for him. One time I called him to see if he would help me with my car. I told him what it was doing. He told me to get a carburetor kit and come over. He not only fixed it, he also showed me how to rebuild a carburetor in short order. He told me the problem was really with the accelerator pump, but fixing that and not replacing the other parts would be a waste of time. I was able to use that skill several times after that.

Another time, my car would not start. I had tested everything. It was getting gas and had spark, so it must be something else. He had me tow it from the base over to his house. After looking at it for about two minutes, he went into his garage and found an old condenser he had kept from a tune up on one of his cars. It took him another two minutes to install it, and have my car running. I asked him if I should go get the correct part and replace it. "Why," he asked? "Is it not running now?"

He used actual parts for cars for those repairs, but only because the parts were necessary and available.

Uncle Rudy collected junk - lots and lots of junk. It was a bit of a problem at times, but he would also use that junk to accomplish some mechanical feats that would boggle my mind!

One of those mind boggling repairs was the time his old Ford pickup was having problems. It was a beater, and he did not want to invest much money into it. Rather than buying new parts, or even going to a junk yard to get used parts, he pulled some parts off a washing machine and a refrigerator he had sitting around. Somehow he made those work sufficiently to repair the problem.

Another repair he made was to an old Plymouth Arrow he acquired. In addition to needing some repairs to get it running, it also needed a grill. He used a shelf from that same refrigerator to serve as some unsightly, but adequate, protection for the radiator.

For a while after those repairs, I would ask him if he drove his Philco Ford or his Frigid Arrow over for his visit. He would smile and tell me about other things he repaired with parts not intended for those purposes.

His ability to make things work was a source of pride to him, and was just one of the things that made him such an amazing person to me!

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