Here’s the Skinny

Sorry this post is so late. WordPress had some kind of glitch tonight that delayed things.

It was too hot to work on the house today, so Grant and I just went over early this morning and opened all the windows to take advantage of the strong winds that were predicted for today. With any kind of luck, the fumes from the floor sealer will be out of there by tomorrow so we can close up the house and cool it down.

We went up to the truck stop to buy some orange push-ups before heading back to the Tumbleweed. As we got out of the XC70, Skinny Rodriguez pulled up and asked Grant whether he was the guy who owned that great-looking old Volvo that was always parked at the motel.

Skinny — who is easily the biggest gearhead in Coldwater, and possibly in the state of New Mexico — is one of what you would call our local “characters.” He has spent his entire life in Coldwater, with the exception of the year he spent in the Army when he was 19. He went off to World War II and came home a year later with a Purple Heart, a wooden leg, and a drinking problem. He still has the medal and the leg. If you ask him about his experiences, he’ll sum up the entire war in two words: “Goddamn Japs.”

Skinny drives a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle with a Christmas tree in the back. He’s got it wired so that the tree lights up whenever he hits the brakes.

He occasionally drinks coffee at the liars’ table down at Casa de Jesus, but he spends most of his time raising racing pigeons, tending the veterans’ monument over at Wallis Park, and driving that crazy Beetle all over town. If Coldwater had a police department, Skinny would probably get a lot of traffic tickets, because he drives precisely 42 miles per hour everywhere he goes: interstate, city street, state highway, school zone — it’s all the same to Skinny. He says the Beetle gets its best gas mileage at 42 mph, so 42 mph is what Skinny drives, regardless of location, circumstance, or weather conditions.

Grant says guys like Skinny are the reason he wanted to live in a small town.

I totally understand.

— Sierra



  1. Ron · June 11, 2010

    Skinny sounds like the characters in my hometown. That included Speed, who played the pipe organ at several churches, built his own 4-wheel-drive tractor before John Deere ever did, and was the only person to be pulled over for speeding in another tractor (he was doing over 50 mph in a model that he modified, natch).

  2. tumbleweedmotel · June 11, 2010

    Lord. Don’t let Grant hear that. He’s liable to decide he needs a souped-up Farmall.

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