Today was Car Church. I had an appointment (booked weeks ago, delayed by the winter tyre frenzy) with Reid Bros GM Canada dealership in Arnprior. I’m guessing as well it doesn’t help that this is hunting season in Renfrew County. Public school teachers are not the only ones who enjoy statutory holidays!
Though the initial stimulus for the car appointment was to examine a sound glitch affecting the turn signals, the radio and Apple Car Play (basically, there was no sound), the fault was adjusted upon a prior unscheduled visit through the Express Service bay. It was suspected that the defect was a software download issue exacerbated by our subterranean garage which excluded the necessary overnight WiFi connection. Subsequently the problem reappeared but only momentarily. The sound returned to normal and has remained so. Today’s catch-all attendance (apart from addressing the possible lingering software issue) was my “1 of 8 free” 15-point inspections offered by Cadillac to new car owners. Accordingly I dressed for the occasion. Long pants (not jogging pants) and a long-sleeved shirt beneath my clean sweater with the customary silk scarf about my neck. I sported as well a brown woven leather bracelet I bought many years ago on a whim while on Daytona Beach Shores when recovering from a catastrophic bicycle accident. Today’s project was after all an outing of the first order in my books; and one which I had ambitiously and anxiously anticipated.
It is quite surprising the capital that insinuates an event as manifestly mundane as an oil change. My introduction to Reid Bros Arnprior long predates today’s isolated venture. When I was 17 years old I recall having accompanied my late mother to Flesher Furs on Bank St, Ottawa. She was picking up or dropping off one or more of her several fur coats (a collateral of having married a man whose father was a silver fox rancher). Not long afterwards mother and I returned to Flesher Furs to collect my new racoon coat. In the process of completing these retail matters I had the decided pleasure to meet and acquaint myself with Mr. Israel “Izzy” and Mrs. Jessie Flesher and their two lovely daughters, Suzanne “Suzie” and Patricia “Patti”.
Mr. Flesher and I spoke the same language when it came to cars. As far back as I recall, Mr. Flesher drove Cadillacs. Because Mr. Flesher was at heart a “country boy” (they lived at the time in rural Dunrobin on the outskirts of Ottawa – where many others whom I have since come to know also lived or still live), he made a calculated point of dealing with country people. Hence when it came to cars the Cadillac choice for Mr. Flesher was Reid Bros Arnprior located on the nearby Madawaska River which just happens to be a tributary of the Ottawa River along which the Fleshers lived.
I believe I am correct to observe too that Mr. Flesher bought a new Cadillac every year. It spite of being self-effacing, he had within him an adventurous spirit which, at least laterally when I knew him, he signified by driving Cadillac Eldorado convertible models. They were a superb looking automobile with every possible feature at your finger tips. I especially liked the indicator lights which flickered red, green or yellow in small chrysalises secured to the left and right of the sprawling front hood. And the car had power. Though Patti (when on occasion she took me for a spin in her own car of similar make and model) never drove above an acceptable and dignified speed.
After I rallied at the service desk with the Service Advisor (Philip) upon my arrival at the dealership early this afternoon, I hobbled with my stick to the waiting room then to the showroom where I sat, surrounded by polished new vehicles on a sunny day in the Ottawa Valley. Happily Jane (my contact on the retail side of the dealership) joined me on the showroom floor, positioning herself in a chair next to me. We rapidly engaged in a boisterous confab, discussing cars, the automobile industry, travel and family lineage. As I jokingly quipped with Jane, we must ensure never to have a bottle of gin between the two of us because we’ll never stop gabbing! It was a fulfilling engagement in spite of confessing the current industry shortcomings arising from COVID-19 and changes to international trade.
Because my attention is never far removed from ambition (I am afterall a cunning lawyer by trade), it pleases me to report with categorical satisfaction that the entire experience at Reid Bros Arnprior today went exactly as I had hoped it would go. Driving a new Cadillac for the first time in several years – and having estranged myself only months ago from a highly agreeable Lincoln dealership in Ottawa – I was both anticipatory and apprehensive. My agitation was immediately quelled when, not long after having left the service counter, Phil materialized in the showroom and – professionally I thought – addressed me formally to advise that my car was ready. After I withdrew from the showroom, Phil took the time to itemize the terms of the service and to answer my questions arising therefrom.
I retired to the outdoor parking lot to collect my car. First I conducted a cursory inspection of the car including a glance under the hood. Obviously I have no entitlement to challenge anything of merit when it comes to automobile mechanics; but having owned near 30 new cars in my lifetime and having always maintained them assiduously, it doesn’t surprise me on occasion to discover an inadvertent error or oversight which seemingly escaped the technician. If I read the Service Order correctly the Technician at Reid Bros Arnprior today was by entire serendipity “Billy” who, based upon my admittedly rudimentary analysis, emerges by my estimate to have approached his duties with vigour and vitality. These unsung and often unseen heros of life are owed a great deal by the unwitting customer. I am indebted to him and his colleagues in the service bay for their professionalism.
It was in this state of unadulterated exhilartion that I left Reid Bros Arnprior and pushed off into the undiminished yellow sunshine to my rural seat in Lanark County. As the automobile geared up onto the Queensway, I took notice of the functionality of features, the purr of the engine, the stability and alignment of the wheels and the moderately improved driving sensation. All was well. I had accomplished my purgative outing!