Jilly D.

Quality matters

In Mourning, Pictures and memories on February 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Quality is like fresh oats

Crispell Automotive, east of Ithaca, NY, on State Route 79 is closed and the real estate is for sale. The business is gone.

Dick Crispell ran this garage for many many years. Buses, trucks, heavy equipment, tractors and cars could find service like nowhere else in the Finger Lakes.

Sam worked for Dick Crispell when he was much younger; when Dick’s sons were boys. Sam liked to tell the story of how Dick Crispell extended him credit and garage space to rebuild his 18-wheeler after he had quit to be an independent truck driver. While his truck was out of commission Sam worked for Crispell Automotive as a top flight mechanic to repay Dick.

Sam always got his automotive parts there. During the past decade I had more than one occasion to visit Crispells. By then Dick Crispell had retired and one or the other of his sons ran the business.

On the wall hung an old handwritten saying in a frame that I took a picture of one day. It captured so much wisdom so simply.

“Quality…is like buying Oats. If you want nice clean fresh oats you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse….that comes a little cheaper.”

Quality of life matters. There are lots of people who are not satisfied with the manure. The Tunisian revolution started when a young university educated man peddling fruits and vegetables lit himself on fire when the government confiscated his wares. No matter what he did his government would not permit him to have a quality of life that made his life worth living. The political is personal. And global.

If you want fresh clean oats you must pay a fair price. Fair.

So simple. So hard.

Near the light switch at Crispell’s hung another sign.

“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”

Out on a llimb

I feel the need for a simple winter breakfast of fresh oatmeal fruit compote. Won’t come cheaply.


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