The Dynasty Rides Again and…an Unexpected Endorsement

So two weeks ago, I bought some Mexican take out and drove over to my buddy’s house in St. Louis Park to watch Gophers-Hoosiers in HD. On the way there, the Dynasty started driving a little funky—resisting when I tried to turn the steering wheel. Felt like the alignment was off, or there was ice grinding into the wheel well or something. But I muscled ‘er down 394, gritted my teeth over the General Mills Blvd exit, and got a block from Jorgy’s house when SCCKKKRTT-CLNK-CLNK-CLNK-TTT-CH-LNK-LNK-SCCCKKRT-BUD-DOOMP-CHOOM!


WTF? It was brutally cold, so Jorgy actually drove the block it took to de-damsel in distress me, and we pushed the car to the side of the street.

That Saturday, my father, Gandalf the Grey, came out to see if she was salvageable.

“Jesus Christ, Steve. It’s always somethin’, isn’t it?”

Broken axle.

$60 for a front passenger’s side axle at Napa Auto Parts.

We used dad’s AAA card to have it towed before the sweet suburban couple on Flag Lane in SLP called the authorities about the automobile setting in front of their home, the automobile that looked like it belongs on the West Baltimore set of The Wire.

Where did I tow the car? A warm garage? Back to my parents’ estate in WBL?

Try the alley behind another buddy’s house in Uptown.

That’s what we Marsh boys have been taught to do with a car. Screw taking it someplace and laying real money out, when you can put it up on blocks somewhere and alienate your friends by imposing. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I’m not a homeowner yet, so I don’t have a yard where I can put cars on blocks. Had to settle for my buddy Danny’s extra alley space.

Yup, we fix our cars like decent folk used to get abortions.

So this last Sunday, my buddy Danny wasn’t only gracious enough to let us use his alley for what’s now, thanks to the cold snap that started on Tuesday, an indeterminate amount of time (Only joking, Danny! We’ll be back this Saturday to, ahem, get ‘er done–I promise.), but he even brought out a couple of beers while my dad and I started the job.

Dad showed up around noon, and after we jacked up the Dodge, while we were waiting for the loosening agent to start working on the wheel, he shocked me.

“Took your mother to a movie last night.”


“Yeah. Took her to see Rambo. God, Stevie, you gotta see that.”


“Yeah, Rush had Sly Stallone on on Friday. God, it was a good movie. A lot of shooting and explosions—mom couldn’t watch it anymore about halfway through.”

Turns out Rambo is kind of a message movie. Operation Burmese Freedom, as it were. My dad had more surprises. Now he was lying on a blanket in the alley, grunting underneath the front end as he removed parts from the car. I crouched over him and handed him various tools, and tried to pay attention to the procedure, but basically just prayed the jacked-up Dynasty wouldn’t collapse on top of my 66-year-old father, who was lying on a blanket next to a snowbank. Just crouched there and tried to control my shame, basically.

“Did you see that Obama talk? Wow, he sure is a good talker.”


“If McCain gets the nomination, I think I’m going to vote for him.”


“Uh-huh. I haven’t voted for a Democratic nominee for President since 1960. But if the conservatives can’t nominate somebody conservative, they don’t deserve my vote.”

“Really? Would you vote for Hillary too?”


“Ron Paul is conservative, dad.”

“Sure, and I kind of like Ron Paul. But he doesn’t have a chance, Steve. And he wants to end the war.”

We got the wheel off first, and then we (oh, who am I kidding–he) removed the disc brakes. But he started having problems with the nut on the end of the hub. He cursed a couple times. “Hey, does your friend Dan have a hammer?”

“I’ll check.”

“Do you remember that song, ‘If I had a Hammer’?”


“It was a Peter, Paul and Mary song. How did it go? Lemme think. [Starts singing.] If I had a hammer/I’d hammer in the morning…

Dan was working on putting a new baby seat in the backseat of his car in his garage. I shouted towards the garage. Asked him if he had a hammer in there.

“Of course.”

“And, Danny, do you know the song, ‘If I Had a Hammer’?”

“Of course I do! [Starts singing.] If I had a hammer/I’d hammer in the morning/I’d hammer in the evening/All over this land. [Starts singing more confidently.] I’d hammer out danger!/I’d hammer out a warning!/I’d hammer out love between my brothers and sisters…