My car has needed an oil change since before I left Los Angeles.
As I drive along, I worry about it. All that dirty oil, scraping away on my fine Toyota engine, for no reason except that I was in such a hurry to leave that soulless city of such suffering for me.
I don’t want to stop and waste more time. Finally, though, I decide to stop in the next tiny town I pass through, figuring that I’ll be able to get instant service at a tiny garage in a tiny town.
So I stop that night at Tiny Motel, and stay in a tiny but very clean room. The next morning, I ask the manager to recommend a garage. He not only does so, but kindly gives me his card with a note to the garage owner so that I will get some local love.
I arrive at Tiny Garage bright and early only to learn the big mistake in my big city thinking. Just because I’m in TinyTown doesn’t mean Tiny Garage has no customers. All of the folk from miles around bring their cars in to the only garage for miles around. Mr. Tiny suggests I try Tiny Ford, which can do work on non-Fords if asked. Off I go, only to learn that it, too, has a long wait. (Ford pickups are pretty popular in TinyTown.)
S’okay. I can eat breakfast while waiting. I pick a likely-looking spot by peeking through windows to look for happy customers. I walk into The Tiny Diney and take the last remaining table of the six available. The (one) waitress also helps cook, so it’s a wait for the coffee.
It is one of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten, anywhere. No wonder the diners look so happy.
My omelet is generous, and spicy with chili rellenos. My orange juice is a freshly-squeezed ten ounces in a sparkling-clean tall glass—without a straw, thank goodness. My pancake is as buttery and fluffy and light as the clouds I have been enjoying the entire trip. I haven’t had a pancake like that since I was a little girl in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, eating a meal prepared by a Pennsylvania Dutch family.
On the wall next to me is a old, old photo of Dolly Parton and her band from back when. The signed note on it from Dolly says how much she enjoyed her meal at The Tiny Diney. I can believe it.
After breakfast, I go back to Tiny Garage and meet one of those everyday unsung American heroes, like the rest of the hardworking people I meet in TinyTown.
This woman not only raised her own child, but taught high school for thirty years, and helped run the family farm. Then, as if that wasn’t heroic and generous-spirited enough, after she retired, she decided she’d just better keep on giving back, and now teaches college and runs the farm entirely on her own while her husband is out of town for weeks at a time. And she has a chronic illness (too).
She and I chat away for an hour about this and that. When we part, we are friends.
When my car is ready, it turns out that besides saving wear and tear on my engine, Mr. Tiny may have saved my life, too. My right front tire was down to the cords (yes, me am dumb), and Mr. Tiny swapped it out for the brand-new full-size spare.
Thank you, Mr. Tiny, and Tiny Town!