With a little help from a friend

In 1967 the Beatles crafted a song with the sole intent of allowing Ringo Starr, the bands drummer, to sing the lyrics. Starr wasn’t as natural of a lyricist as were Paul McCartney or John Lennon, so they put in the effort to compose the song, “With a little help from my friends” specifically for Ringo to sing.

Ringo recorded the soundtrack over the course of one late night recording session. He had told the band he was too tired to sing the song that night, starting at around 11:00 p.m., but they insisted that he would be up to the task. Any Beatles fan knows their catalog wouldn’t be complete without this iconic tune.

Like the name of the song, most tasks become easier to do with a little help from our friends. I would challenge anyone reading this column to not find an example in your life where you were able to accomplish something because someone helped you. Though it doesn’t have to be anything grand, having help from someone else can make all the difference in the outcome.

A number of years ago we had the unfortunate experience of having our GMC Suburban break down as we were headed to Ogden, Utah to attend the baptism of a nephew. Just this side of Tremonton, Utah, we heard a terrible sound coming from the drive train under our vehicle. I pulled over and quickly came to the conclusion that our transfer case had begun to cease up. The racket we were hearing from inside the vehicle was a bearing inside the transfer case giving up the ghost.

I probably could have pushed my luck and kept driving until it finally let go, but the possible outcomes from such an irresponsible action were untenable. If the drive shaft were to come loose it could dig into the roadway and send us pole-vaulting into the median or other traffic. I decided to pull off at the very next exit and find a plan B.

My first call was to my little brother, who was also going to the same event. Unfortunately, he was already in Ogden and wasn’t’ able to help. On to plan C which was calling my best friend who lives in Hyrum, Utah. John is a friend I have known since junior high school and we have been thick as thieves ever since. Fortunately, John was home and agreed to come to Tremonton to bail me out of a jam.

When he arrived at my location, I realized that he had brought two cars, one he left with me and the other he would use to get himself back home – after he had dealt with my broken-down car. On our way we went, not in one of their old used up cars but in their family sedan. As it turned out, we ended up using that car for more than a week while John was fixing my Suburban. I think when all was said and done, John, who owns M&M Auto Care in Logan, replaced my defective transfer case charging me only the cost of the parts he had to buy.

John and I go around and around whenever it is time to settle up for work that has been done. He refuses to charge anything more than parts, which sometimes is ok if the job is small, but not when he has spent hours of work-time fixing something I’ve broken. It’s a good system that we reciprocate back and forth. One day when we are old and broken we’ll sit down and resolve all the plusses and minuses over a lifetime of being friends. When that day comes I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up within $100 of being even.

This past week I needed a couple of stubborn bolts loosened on a hitch for my camp trailer. The hitch has been sitting in my garage for a long time and I simply didn’t have wrenches big enough to undo the bolts. Having no interest in driving to Logan where my friend, John, would gladly help me, I went to Casiano’s Auto Repair here in Burley to see if they could help me. Now with two locations in Mini-Cassia, I went to their new location across from Smith’s Grocery Store and talked to Able. He was happy to help, using his tools of the trade to take out the first bolt but having trouble with the second. After 15 minutes of struggle Able suggested that I drive to their other location next to the mall in Heyburn where they had a better selection of tools.

When I arrived I found that Able had already spoken to his brother, Jose, who runs that location. Sure enough, with a few minutes of effort we were able to loosen the stubborn bolt and we adjusted the hitch to the correct height for my pick-up truck. Neither of these two brothers would accept any money for the help they had given me, chalking it up to goodwill and future paid services.

Before that day, neither of the two brothers were on my list of friends and acquaintances but I certainly would put them there today. I suppose it is possible to give a little help to your friends, even when they start out as strangers. Thanks Able & Jose!

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