Squareshooter Wright

Squareshooter Wright

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Now I don't know how he came by that name, but to hear my dad tell it, he was honest as he could be.  He had the biggest collection of cars I've ever seen, and old ones too!  His place sat right on the Hwy 49 which ran all the way from Helena up through Piggot.  Don't know how much further it goes, but there's a lot of people travel on that highway.  And a lot of them are visitors or first timers.

The name of Squareshooter was well known.  And had been for many many years.  During the Great War, (WWII), times was rough, but finding and obtaining simple, ordinary, everyday things such as a inner tube for your car was nigh on to impossible.  One day while my dad was still child himself in the late 1930's, he visited Squareshooter's place of business with his own dad, Grover Cavaness.

The tires and tubes on grandpa Cavanesses ol Model A Ford were past going, one especially.  It refused to hold air no matter how many times it had been patched, repatched, then repatched again.

Back in the days, they didn't have tire Viagra . . .   (Fix a Flat in a can).  In those days, fixing a flat didn't mean calling a tow truck, or driving down to the local tire outlet and wait for three hours getting a 10 minue job done, (that, with today's technology, doesn't take more than 10 minutes).

Back in those times, fixing a flat meant a half day's work.  In consisted of the following steps:

locating a level place in which to work on your vehicle
finding a way to lift the vehicle
removing the lug nuts with ill fitting wrenches, on turn at a time
removing the wheel, then, removing the tire which consisted of :

breaking bead of the tire down
holding the tire wide enough to remove the tube
patch the tube, which consisted of:

Pumping it up enough to spew bubbles under water to locate hole
dry it off, stretch the tube over one knee while kneeling on the other
cleaning and roughing up the surface in order to get patch to stick
slip the frame under the tube (while still holding the tube stretched over leg), hold the patch in place while frame was screwed down tight
take a screwdriver, knife or other item and pick a place with which to light patch heater
Light and wait for flammable substance to finish burning, then cool sufficiently to remove patch holding bracket
as soon as the heavy smoke clears and the patch which has completely adhered to the tube comes off the metal to which it was attached, carefully remove the bracket and peel the steel off the patch
drag a cloth around the inside of the tire to locate the item which put the hole in the tube in the first place
after locating and removing offending item, stuff the tube back into the tire being careful not to rip the new patch or the 20 other patches already in place

Air up the tire using an tire pump similar to what they use on bicycles today
walk the tire and wheel assembly to the car

lift the wheel
locate and start all the lug bolts
tighten all lug bolts with the knucklebuster wrench, one turn at a time
lower the vehicle back to the ground carefully

If you are lucky, the tube will hold air long enough to get you to town and back.

Well, Grandpa Cavaness needed a new tube.  The one he was having so much trouble with was far past fixing.  Grandpa went to visit Mr. Squareshooter and found him rummaging around in one of his old buildings.  When he heard Grandpa's request, he just simply stated "with the war going on, it's against the law to sell you a new tube.  Let me see if I can find you an old tube that is worth having."

At that he walked over to a shelf which had piles and piles of new tubes.  He pulled one out of a box, took a nail and poked a hole in it.  "Well, he said, here seems to be a used tube.  Got a hole in it though that you'll have to patch.  That will be two bits."

Grandpa was mighty happy to get that tube, and even happier to get a new one at that price.  Squareshooter was the only one in those thereabouts what had a new tubes, and he didn't have to help Grandpa, but, that's just the kind of man he was.

I've often marveled at his property.

George Cavaness

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