Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mr. Trabold

I saw in the Post-Standard today ( that Mr. Trabold had passed away. Odd - I thought of him on Monday when I was in the village. I turned a corner and there was a gentleman who looked so much like him that I thought momentarily it was him. Then I realized I hadn't seen him in a while.

Mr. Trabold had the garage in town for 58 years. You know it now as "Joe's Pasta Garage" on Jordan Street, new since 2004 (?) Prior to that Mr. Trabold owned - well, owned doesn't really do him justice - presided over, maybe - the stone building complete with cars on lifts, dark passages, years and years of grease and grime. It cleaned up really well, though.

He was a "tough customer" as my father used to say. A crotchety old man when I knew him. My son was told to bring the car in "early." He showed up at 9:30 - early enough to a 17 year old - and heard what Mr. Trabold thought of lazy kids. He remembers that tongue-lashing to this day.

But I liked him for all that. He had a virtual photo gallery and many, many albums of pictures of the village and town. He could tell you about when the high school burned - he was born in 1917 - and what the village looked like as it changed over the years. I also found that if I brought him chocolate chip cookies my car got fixed quicker.

Somewhere there's a photo of him in his office, a hole in the wall at the front of the building. It was filled with memorabilia and probably just decades of saved papers, too. I can see him sitting at his desk, looking up at whoever was taking the picture. Maybe it's just a memory I have, maybe it's a photo somewhere in the restaurant, but it's so very stark and revealing I will remember it, and him, always.