The short way, from Lexington to Redstar, is up the Mountain Parkway, but I know several people who say they can actually save time by going down I-75 and taking the Daniel Boone from London on up into God’s Country.
Anyway, Keeter called me up from his talking car to remind me that it had been nearly a year since we had last devoted an evening to beer, blonde jokes, and technical assistance to Hillary Clinton in her role as Secretary of State.
Keeter and I are of the opinion, since we are both retired with too much time on our hands, that we could solve most, If not all, world problems if Hil would just allow us to run her old office while she spends the next 18 months campaigning for the presidency.
Keeter’s regular car is in the shop undergoing serious repairs. In the meantime, he has a loner Buick Encore SUV that he can talk to and she will talk back in understandable English. For example, she has a button on the steering wheel that turns the surround-sound stereo system into a speaker phone.
When the button is pushed, whatever music he’s listening to shuts off, and a nice lady’s voice comes through at least half a dozen speakers and asks, “Who would you like to call, Keith?” That’s how we know the car is a “she” because its voice is most definitely of the female persuasion.
Keeter tells her, “Call Ike. ” e car answers, “Hold
Th on while I find that number,” then, almost immediately, she says, “Hold on, while I dial, then you can speak when your party answers.” So there Keeter is, tooling down 75, listening to me talk to him from speakers mounted in the dashboard, the roof and all four doors, at least we actually found speakers in those locations but there may be others under the seats. It’s actually pretty difficult to tell. The point is that my brother can make a phone call without having to use one hand to hold a cell phone and punch in numbers with his thumb, thereby avoiding risk to his life or the lives of other people whose vehicles are reasonably close to him while he’s driving.
I don’t have space here to get into details, but he can actually tell the car where he wants to go and she’ll tell him how to get there. I am jealous.
The kids got Loretta and me a Garmin GPS system for Christmas so that we don’t have to risk getting lost when we visit them and the grandkids in Richmond or Stanford. It also talks to us, but it does not sound nearly as upbeat, cheerful and friendly as the Buick Keeter will be driving for the next month. I’m jealous because Keeter’s car is much better looking than our GPS thing and it also has a much better personality. I have a strong feeling that, when the time comes to turn the Buick back in to the rental place, my little brother will only use his regular car long enough to drive it to a dealer so he can trade it in for one just like his loaner and he will probably try to trade Enterprise out of this one.
Speaking of retirement, and I do believe we were doing just that back toward the beginning of the column, I asked Keeter how he was getting by financially now that he is stuck with living on a “fixed income.”
Keeter said, “Fixed, my eye,” (actually he referred to another part of his anatomy that I can’t mention because I’ve been sworn in to play nice in your newspaper).
Keeter only retired in February. For the last 40 years he has been accustomed to getting however much overtime he needed to work to make his income accommodate his outgo.
He said, “I called one of them financial planning outfits that are all the time advertising on Lexington television that they’ll help you fix your income, but they wanted a big chunk of what little I’m getting, up front before they’d even take a look at it and I’m not about to fall for a scam like that.”
Keeter said, “I told ‘em that whoever claimed they’d fixed it the first time oughta be fired cause it sure ain’t running right. In fact I think that whoever worked on it the first time actually broke it.
“I know one thing for sure, if they call the income I’m trying to live on now, ‘fixed’, I’d hate to see one they consider broke.”
The last thing Keeter told me as he was pulling out of my driveway, headed home, on Saturday morning was, “Whenever Hillary calls, you tell her that we can be up there on real short notice and get things straightened out in the State Department, but she’ll have to send us an advance for airfare and she’ll have to take care of the hotel bill and get us a car ‘cause we can’t afford to travel until we get a better job done on fixing our incomes.”
And yes, we do know that John Kerry is Secretary of State, but he’s no fun and we figure we could do a much better job.
My younger brother, Keith “Keeter”, had to be in Lexington on business last Friday, so he decided to take the long way back home to the hills and come through Paint Lick to take the night with me.