If my buddy, Creighton W. Apple, were an automobile, he’d be a Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge or maybe even a Studebaker. That’s it, a Studebaker ... good ol’ American-made, back when motors grumbled, gears ground and pedals pumped ... y’know, when “cars were cars.”

Creighton (“Crazy” to me) and I were in the same high school class. We didn’t know each other well in those days ... he played football so, I wrote him off as “city” to my “country” ... but we did tie up in college. He majored in Studio Art and I, Plant and Soil Science, and, yes, that gave us both a “gainful” path in life. It is our lifelong friendship that’s much more important, though.

Crazy and I ended up kindred brothers because of our shared love of cars, tractors or anything that moves on wheels and requires a bit of common sense to fix or drive. I was good at driving them but when they broke down, Crazy was the guru of gears, the chaplain of the chassis, the king of the carburetor!

Down through the years, we’ve kept up our communication but only through the phone or the mailbox. He spurns the more recent-day email or texting like he spurns imported machinery and automobiles. In fact, I cannot visit him ... entering his driveway with my Honda CRV would be like Francis Scott Key penning “God Save the Queen” and crowing about it! I recently received one of his handwritten missives which eloquently addressed both our merits. He wrote: “First, I admit that you could double-clutch an unsynchronized transmission better than ANYONE I ever knew (which, of course, Ahem, is true!).” Then, he went on to explain exactly how double-clutching applies, right down to simple math ... “Engine rotation and driveshaft rotation equals drive wheels’ rotation divided by the rear end ratio.”

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Crazy’s a genius. Another of his scribbled missives ended this way: “Well, enough of my scholarly pursuits. With Genesee (yes, we did manage to drink a beer or two) and aging, plus numerous blows to the head, I’ve regressed to lower first standard deviation genius. But ... as Plato said to Aristotle in Athens ... ‘Use it or lose it.’”

And use it he did with one single hint at his political leanings ... his idea about a rule for our overly aggressive Legislature: For every new law they pass, they must take two off the books ... wow ... Is he the only one who’s thought of that? ... that’s pure genius!

Burr Morse lives in East Montpelier.

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