Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Passion for Mechanics

The year was about 1917, and the place was rural Beadle county, South Dakota, and the Will Knutz family was going for a ride in the new car!  But first, photos had to be taken.  People piled in and out of the vehicle, in various configurations, until it was finally time to take a spin.  For little Bill "Willie" Knutz, sandwiched in the back seat between his uncle Delbert and Aunt Lulu, and behind his brother Howard, this was a life changing event.

Bill told the story of when he was just a lad, and the car needed repair.  Will took the car to a mechanic in Huron, and as the man worked on it, Bill watched his every move.  The mechanic finally noticed, and invited young Bill to take a look under the hood, and took the time to explain all the parts to him and what they did.  He was fascinated at how it all worked together, and from that point on, Bill was deeply interested in mechanics.

As a young man, Bill worked as a farm hand.  He told of many cars that he had bought and sold, and he tinkered with them all.  Only one got the best of him; he told how it sat in the barn for months while he worked on it, and he never did get it running.

Over the years, Bill used that mechanical ability to fix just about anything that needed fixing; they never had the money to just replace things, so you could argue that it was out of necessity. But I think otherwise - when he would get our attention as children, he'd take us to his basement workshop and show us whatever he had apart at that moment, and how it worked, in detail.  Then he'd fix it.  And I suspect he would have fixed things regardless of his financial condition, because on that day in the mechanic's shop long ago, he'd found his passion.

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