LINDEMAN: Like a Good Neighbor, Cape Charles Is There

Fred’s grandfather?

Cape Charles Wave

January 30, 2013

By now most of you who have read my past columns know that I tend to write about what I perceive to be what’s good in this town of ours.

2012 was a year of controversy and angst for many, and I simply don’t want us to lose sight of all the good things that happen throughout the course of the year and the people behind those things.

The old “forest for the trees” adage is alive and well here:  we have to consider the whole if we’re going to pick the nit.

Case in point:

I have an old truck.  It’s not a beauty nor is it anywhere near new.  Fred is a 23-year old Ford F-150 pickup.

I’ve owned Fred for seven or eight years now, I suppose.  I don’t measure my time with Fred in terms of years or miles, but in the quality it adds to our lives.

Why the name Fred?  Before I bought it, I borrowed a friend’s F-150 to help move some furniture.  That truck was affectionately named Lamont by my friend.  It was the same vintage as Fred.

If you remember the TV show Sanford and Son, you’ll get Lamont and Fred.

My son was maybe four at the time, and I plopped him in the seat next to me figuring he’d get a kick out of riding high in a truck.  Little did I know how much so.

Jack rode back and forth with me over the course of two days as we moved loads of furniture to our new house.  The evening I brought Lamont back to my friend, we put the kids to bed and I made a final trip back to my friends’ to retrieve my car.

The next morning, Jack looked outside in the driveway and asked, “Where’s Lamont, Daddy?”  I told him we had only borrowed it and that it wasn’t ours to keep.  His little eyes began to tear up.  He clearly didn’t understand.  My heart broke for him.  So I vowed that I’d find a truck just like Lamont for us to tool around in.


Sure enough, a couple of months later, I spun the wheels of Lamont’s sibling into our driveway to my son’s delight.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional.  I even ripped a CD that repeats the theme from Sanford and Son that stays in the truck’s stereo.  Every now and then I’ll play it just for a chuckle. If you know the theme, you’d chuckle, too.

Fred has served us well through the years, but when I got my first Boston Whaler down on the Shore, I needed a truck to haul it.  Enter Fred.  Ever since, Fred has lived predominately down at our house in Cape Charles.

We miss him when we’re gone, but when we get down there and see him waiting for us as we roll into our driveway, it makes us feel good, like reacquainting with an old friend.

Fred hauls plants and mulch from Appleseed.  He pulls my Whaler.  He carries our kayaks to the put-in and takes countless trips to the beach to haul the mindless array of beach chairs, umbrellas, and toys that a half-day of lounging at Cape Charles Beach entails.  Fred is certainly the family mule.

But, out of sight, out of mind.  I noticed in mid-November that Fred’s inspection was due.  I put it off until Thanksgiving weekend, thinking that I’d have more time to deal with it then.  I didn’t.  The next weekend, with the inspection almost expired, I drove it to the shop only to find it closed on a Saturday afternoon.

Rockfish season, I guessed.  Perhaps he closes at noon on Saturdays now.

I returned the next Saturday morning. But the shop was closed yet again.  Ugh.  My inspection was expired and I really didn’t want to get a ticket, so I drove Fred home and parked him.

Later that week I was on the phone with my Cape Charles neighbor and good friend, Dave, complaining about my efforts to get Fred inspected, my frustration with the auto shop, and other goings on in town.  I paid it no mind after that, figuring I’d get down there the following Friday early enough to finally get it done.

So, that Friday I was talking to my friend Dave on the phone on my way to town.  I mentioned to him that I was trying to get down there early so I could get Fred inspected.  He matter of factly said that he had already taken care of it for me.

There was silence.  Did I mis-hear him?  “What?” I asked.

“It’s taken care of,” Dave said.  Seems he had some time to kill, so he went over to my house, got Fred’s keys, drove it over to the shop, waited for it, paid the shop owner, and parked it back in my driveway.

I was amazed.  Dave is always doing something for us, it seems.  He truly gets what being a friend and good neighbor is all about.  But this just seemed above and beyond.  I was speechless and very, very appreciative.

As I’ve reflected on this for the past week or so, I’ve reminded myself that these kinds of things really do happen to us all the time in Cape Charles.  This story reminds me that there are simply so many good people in town who do good things – daily.

We get so caught up in all the negativity going on that we sometimes lose sight of the things that make our little town a community.  Let’s all pay it forward.

Here’s to a great 2013, Cape Charles!



3 Responses to “LINDEMAN: Like a Good Neighbor, Cape Charles Is There”

  1. Julie Gibson on January 30th, 2013 11:11 am

    Nice to hear some positive comments about our home away from home.

  2. Tammy Holloway on January 30th, 2013 11:51 am

    As always Bruce your commentary provokes a good belly laugh or two and always leaves me with a smile. As Jim and I moved from Northern Virginia and have hauled many things in our trailer we often sing the “Sanford and Son” song as we roll along! Big SMILE!

    But today I thank you for another reason…my car inspection is due! I hate to use this beautiful day for this but it must be done! I would have completely forgotten it…see, you paid it forward in an unexpected way! Thanks!

  3. Craig Zuidema on January 31st, 2013 2:03 pm

    That was a good read. It is always nice to hear the positive instead of all the negative that is out there. Thanks for an uplifting story.