My adventures with car repairs are probably not too much unlike most others. You stumble your way through knowing what needs to be done, especially as a young lad more interested in showing off the car to girls than whether the vehicle needs an oil change or its tires need air.
April is National Car Care Month, reminding me that things have changed a bit. Sure, people still complain online about various car repair mishaps, but they also sing the praises of places that serve them well.
My late father would be jealous about one of my recent auto service experiences, but first a background story. The year is 1969 and I have taken my first car, a 1965 Chevy Malibu convertible, to an auto shop for a grease job and tire alignment.
My dad opened the car hood when I got home. "They didn't give this car a grease job, there's no fresh grease on the joints," he said in an angry tone.
Because he didn't say something like, "Ron Santo hit a homer today and the Cubs won," I really had no clue what he was talking about.
But he knew I had been duped.
We went back to the shop and my dad asked one of the guys to look under the hood to see if he thought the car needed a grease job. The guy said yes, and my dad went off on him, saying they had just charged me for one.
Let's fast-forward to this year. I took my wife's new car to a dealership to have some side protection panels installed. They shuttled me off to a store I had to go to, and I did that chore and had lunch while they added the panels. They called back, said the car was done, and the shuttle was on its way.
Before I left, they gave me paperwork stating everything that was done and why.
It's probably still not a perfect science, but it sure seemed better from where I was sitting in that shuttle van. When we land an auto repair shop we trust, it takes a lot of stress out of our lives.
My experiences with car repair mostly have been non-stress, other than spending money I'd rather spend on something fun.
For the longest time, a fellow named Dennis Jameson worked on my cars at a place called Master Automotive that used to be right behind the Arcada Theater in St. Charles.
Years later, Avenue Chevy in Batavia was a solid place before it closed, but for the past several years the Firestone site in Batavia has been able to solve my problems.
We all have our go-to places. And that's how it should be. There are plenty of longtime auto repair businesses in the area. At various times, depending on where I was working and which shop was closest, my cars could end up at Reber & Foley, or maybe Kevin's in St. Charles, or Stevens Automotive Repair in Geneva. And Lou's always did a nice job on a Jeep I drove for more than 20 years.
If you like your repair shop, maybe this is the month to tell the repair guys who work there.
A major ramble:
The St. Charles Arts Council has tackled some rather ambitious events over the past few years, but this one might top them all.
The name of the event, the Fox River Arts Ramble, pretty much sums up what this one-day event on Saturday, April 21, is all about -- folks rambling about the Fox Valley region to visit any number of arts locations.
To list all of the art shops and galleries involved in this event would fill up way more space than I can devote to one item in this column.
The best thing to do is go to the foxriverarts.com or StCharlesArtsCouncil.org sites to get all of the details.
More than 50 participants covering various arts in Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Aurora are involved.
This had to be quite a task to organize, and the council was quick to thank all of the event organizers, sponsors and participants.
Chambers thinking golf:
Yes, it's true. Warmer weather is trying to take hold, and with that, attention more clearly turns to golf.
It means we can focus better on notices about upcoming outings because it makes more sense to think about smacking a golf ball around when there is no snow on the ground or in the forecast.
As such, we'll mention that the Batavia Chamber of Commerce has been quick to get out its reminders about the June 22 Social Scramble Golf Classic it is hosting for the 44th time.
This year it is at Orchard Valley Golf Course for the first time, and if you haven't played this layout, it's worth the time and effort above and beyond supporting the chamber.
All of the information and signup details are at bataviachamber.org.
Geneva hosts its annual chamber outing June 4 at Royal Hawk Country Club in St. Charles, with signup at golfinvite.com/GenevaChamber.
The St. Charles Chamber plans its outing in August, so details on that will start to surface soon.
No guitars downtown:
After three years in its 217 W. Main St. spot in downtown St. Charles, the Jank Guitar Store is looking for a new location.
The site is closed because asbestos was uncovered in the flooring during a renovation project, and owner Scott Corbin says he is on the hunt for the shop's next home.
During that time, the store plans to continue providing lessons through its online service.