So there I am, snoozing away having worked a swing shift that included working on 2 red- lined F-106s. 1 down for no data-link and 1 down for unstable MA1 computer. In February. In Rome N.Y. Yeah they were in the hangers, but it was still COLD. I’m a Southern boy bred and born; besides my last duty station was in the sunny, tropical climes of Vietnam. (I should’ve known something was up when they special-issued me Arctic winter clothing.)
Sawing logs, Bang!Bang!on the door to our apartment. Checked the time, it’s O-dark early. Mumble, mumble. I answer the door to the Staff Sergeant who lives on the 3rd floor. “What”? (I may have been less than gracious). He wants me to help move a large ice chunk out of the driveway so he can go to work.
We trek downstairs, and he’s right, there is a large ice chunk blocking the driveway. It’s in the driveway because it has fallen from the eves of the house (3 stories) landed on my ’68 Mustang. Smashed the passenger side of the roof almost flat to the dashboard, windshield busted, mangled the right front fender, the right side of the hood, and caused other fiddly bits of mayhem. I stand there mouth agape and the Staff Sgt says with an apparent lack of irony: “Looks like your car got some damage out of that.” We had to get an axe to break-up the monster icicle to clear the driveway.
The Mustang was insured with a broker in Arkansas. You know where this is going right? Called the agent at home bright and early his time. “Say bud, I’ve had an icicle fall on the Mustang and I need to make a claim.” “What? (He joined the less than gracious crowd). An icicle? What, did it scratch the paint? Har Har.” I ‘splained it to him…I had a mental image of him standing there in his Arkansas Razorback PJs, mouth agape…I liked that image. Heh.
Got all that out of the way, local agent says to call wrecker and take it to Riolo’s Body Shop down on Black River Drive. OK. Get dressed, and ride with the tow truck to the body shop; I’m going to need a loaner to drive while they look at the damages. Yeah they have loaners, insurance will pick-up the cost, but I’m responsible for the gas, oil, etc. I should have negotiated that better. The car I got was a ’68 Rambler that burned transmission fluid like a wino burns MD 20/20.
This was in February. Insurance decided to fix it not total it. Good deal, probably less hassle. Wrong! First they had to order parts. Then some of the parts arrive, but in the wrong order. Apparently one can not just willy-nilly replace body parts except in a certain sequence? Who knew? Then the new fender gets run over. I never got a good answer for that. Reorder. Meanwhile, this Rambler I’m using is costing beaucoup bucks in transmission fluid.
Finally, on the 14th of April I pick-up the repaired Mustang. They had done an excellent job of restoring that beauty. All that and the cost was less than $700.00. Of course those are 1970 dollars and equal to about 1&1/2 times my monthly pay as a lowly E-4, but I only owed the deductible of $100.00. Yay Insurance.