I haven't had phone service for two weeks (and am still fairly sane.)
I did remember the phone repair guy, gray-headed and sharp-eyed, from an install five years ago. Called out his name as he pulled up, and I thanked him for coming.
He looked startled, and called back, stepping down from his truck:
"You gave me home-made jam!"
"Did you return the jar?... I'm getting fierce about folks who don't."
"No, no. It was on home-made bread and butter. But if you give me a jar, I'll bring you some chokecherry in another one!"
It was a deal; he started sleuthing out my phone problem indoors and out.
I recalled what an interesting man he is, that he mentors his grandkids. I asked about them.
He was kneeling on the ground with some meter thing, but stopped to show me a smartphone photo of his nine year old grandgirl. She was milking a huge Black Angus cow, to get milk for a calf whose mama had mastitis!
Hold on just a minute.
Does this seem down-homey and not particularly useful? Stay tuned. Here's the bottom line:
He stared at the wall and, harrumphed around outside.
"I bet I know who did this; it'll never be right. Some of the young guys take no pride in their work."
He came back from his truck with a big tool box and the longest drill bit I've ever seen, to get through the adobe wall. He redid the whole shabby kit and kaboodle and it took about an hour.
"What do I owe you?"
"Not a thing. It won't give you trouble ever again."
Packing up his tools, he told me he loves to take a couple apples with him when he goes hunting elk.(Am blessed with fruit trees! No fool he.)
A couple of his grandsons have already brought home two racks of antlers and meat for the family. They make jerky.
One of his granddaughters had a hunting license for a doe.
"A head shot!" he said, proud of her skill and her patience, the gift of being utterly quiet.
They bring their elk and deer out on horseback. A different world than L.A. or Manhattan.
I threw in a sack of wilding apples from along the river for his hunting trip, when he rides a horse up into the high country.
Now, is their close-to-the-land lifestyle politically correct for those who choose tofu?
Maybe not, but that fine old man entered my pantheon of heroes today. He's a mentor, a great-heart, salt of the earth.