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Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

Good Men Are Hard To Find

Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009, at 8:17 AM

5 Stars & 2 Thumbs Up!
I don't know about you, but finding good help around here has been a bit difficult for us. It took us the better part of a year to find someone willing to work on our wood stove chimney, and though it has worked out, my experience was a long way from what I sought.

We asked for recommendations about someone that would do the job, called the folks recommended, left messages, but never got a call back. I suppose we didn't hear back because the person recommended didn't want to get involved in our chimney replacement after driving by perhaps, wasn't hungry enough, or knew they didn't have what it took to get the job done.

My goal was to get the job done without getting involved on the roof or having to bother my neighbors for help. As long time followers of The City Slickers know, our farming neighbors have come to our assistance numerous times and we've not been able to return the favors, and frankly I don't like to ask for help... I want to cover my own butt if you know what I mean. So when I found a guy willing to do the work from a newspaper ad, I thought we had contracted someone to do the job so I could relax and get down to doing things I know how to do. To make a long story short, we had to get our neighbors involved, had to make a trip to Grand Island for parts for the job, and I had to actually complete the job... mostly because I was tired of messing around with the guy I "hired". I will say that I think the guy I hired wanted to do a good job, he just didn't have any experience on this type project, and couldn't anticipate problems.

That's not to say that there is nobody able to do quality work around here, just that they seem hard to find, and when you do find the quality guy, you probably gotta stand in line.

My example is John's Repair in Cambridge. John gets my highest 5 star rating for both work done, and price charged. If I was going to complain at all, it's that John is so popular that you may have to wait a while. John is a vehicle mechanic, and though I could have done the work on our Jeep myself, I didn't want to pull the transmission and transfer case out by myself since we don't have a garage, so we contacted John. It took a while to get Blackie into the shop, but once there, the work was completed in a timely manner, the work performed left me 100% satisfied, and price charged was well below what I expected. Two thumbs up!!

More good men...

My neighbor and his son came to our rescue AGAIN on our chimney project when I had to ask for tractor loader help to get high enough to get the chimney assembled on the roof. We needed to get higher than we could get with ladders alone. Once the chimney was assembled, it was quickly determined that the chimney supports were completely inadequate for the windy conditions we experience around here, and my resourceful neighbors came through for us still AGAIN with parts and metal support fabrication work so our chimney will withstand the winds that will try to knock it over. Thanks neighbors... Two thumbs up AGAIN!!

I'm hopeful that I can help these fine folks out this harvest with free labor! I was asked, if needed, if I'd be willing to run a grain cart for them. YEAH! PLEASE ASK! I WORK CHEAP... FREE! Anything I can do to help even my debt to them would sure make me a happy man. I just hope I can be close to as much help to them sometime as they've been to us.

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You have just described what it means to be

COUNTRY, and to be


Back in ancient history, about the time I started in that one-room prairie school, a senior couple moved into the neighborhood.

"Uncle Ben" and "Aunt Margaret" soon became integral to our community.

"Uncle Ben" had acquired a near new Farmal Model M -Diesel tractor which could pull four 16 inch moldboards and a 20-foot double disc plow.

When someone tried to get into the fields to soon in spring and bogged down a smaller tractor, truck or loaded wagon -- "Uncle Ben" came to the rescue.

The youngsters stopped by their house every day after school to see if "Aunt Margaret" needed help with chores, repairing anything around the place, or needed anything carried.

Being allowed to help her was a privilege.

"Uncle Ben" was no longer able to do heavy lifting, of handle a pitchfork or shovel -- but with his big tractor, he was able to be a major contributing member of the community.

Your experience and in all probability some acquired skills can be invaluable to your rural and general Cambridge community.

Do the Ben Franklin page -- draw a line down the middle -- List the things you need help with and the things you can do, which involve skills seldom developed on the farms and small towns.

You'll find things you can do, in addition to running grain carts, which probably have not occurred to your neighbors.

You haven't said specifically -- but do you have any special skills in low-voltage wiring, telephone systems, intercoms and other electronic devices and systems?

You already have the most important characteristic.

You appreciate the values of good neighbors, don't want to abuse their willingness to help AND WANT to keep the scales balanced -- if possible in their favor.

Guess you aren't such a Slicker after all.

Keep it up, you may yet qualify as a COUNTRY BUMPKIN.

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 9:45 AM

Thanks for the kind words Hank.

You said "You haven't said specifically -- but do you have any special skills in low-voltage wiring, telephone systems, intercoms and other electronic devices and systems?"

I do! I've installed thousands of telephones and commercial phone systems including dedicated intercoms and loudspeakers in most types of structures and environments. I know time division switching better than most, can troubleshoot electronic hardware logic problems to the component level, and have extensive experience with commercial voice mail systems, and outside telephone plant. Previously low voltage licensed in Wyoming, and I've been a mini and micro computer repair specialist, though I'm not certified on the new operating systems anymore, and that's part of the reason I retired... I was getting tired of learning a new system every 6 months. I like computer hardware, I'm not so sure about software.

We've done some volunteer work in Cambridge since we got here, and I'm considering offering publicly to do some stuff. Though we've been here nearly 2 years, we still feel like newcomers for the most part, and somebody new in the area offering to help strangers? I'm not so sure how people would take that offer. As Margie has said to me... we're still people of suspicion as some folks wonder why anyone would want to settle down here. All I can say to that is... go be a city slicker for a while and you'll know!

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 11:38 AM


If you ever get tired of being among real people at Cambridge -- I'll try to find you a place near me.

You sound like the answer to a country boy's prayer.

Your neighbors will be spreading that word for you, if you don't do it yourself.

Wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't just about barter your skills for dang near everything it takes to operate in that part of the world.

Don't expect to be able to outright give or donate,

most Republican Valley folks kind of expect to do something in return.

As you already show and know.

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Wed, Sep 30, 2009, at 2:20 PM


Most country folks consider strangers as just nice folks they haven't met.

After meeting, we all get to decide who we want to associate with on a regular basis.

But as my pappy said, "It's a small community,so it helps to be decent and not talk about people behind their backs. You'll be seeing them lots of time."

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Thu, Oct 1, 2009, at 11:35 AM

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