Finding time for a recharge

Posted 3/30/23

Some days it helps to have a charge to get going.

Saturday was one of those days. There’s a routine to Saturdays that starts, after a cup of coffee and toast, with the NPR show “Wait, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Finding time for a recharge


Some days it helps to have a charge to get going.

Saturday was one of those days. There’s a routine to Saturdays that starts, after a cup of coffee and toast, with the NPR show “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” that airs at 7 p.m. By that time I’m usually about to go under the Amtrak overpass in Apponaug on my way to West Bay Tennis to play starting at 7:30 . I’ve written about the Saturday morning league that started soon after Toll Gate High School was built.

Initially, it was limited to Toll Gate faculty and staff as a means of team building and social activity. As subs filled in for Titans, the league transitioned into more hard core players, especially with the introduction of a ladder where the better players in a level move up a notch and the one with the lest cumulative points steps down after 6 weeks. Today, I don’t believe there are any active teachers in the league, but there are a few retirees who I do my best to keep up with.

I was running a bit late Saturday, so I expected to hear more of “Wait, Wait” and maybe even that segment that occasionally includes media bloopers. This is really not something to brag about, however, I’ll confess there’s something to be said for being cast in a national spotlight, albeit for a mistake.

I missed the airing of the Beacon blooper but heard about it from Arden Bastia, who took us over the coals for embarrassing her home town and sloppy proofreading. She learned from NPR that “Local (Warwick) panties were seeking donations.” Actually, the typo was caught in the print edition but online panties was in place of pantries.

More came out of it than embarrassed chuckles. I asked Arden to stop by the Beacon as I wanted to meet someone who took such pride in her community that she’d write a letter to the editor. She had just graduated from college and ended up working for the Beacon (no typos) for about a year before moving on to get a masters in journalism at Northeastern.

On Saturday that string of circumstances was the furthest thing from my mind. I was running a touch late. The routine was off kilter.

It was about to get worse.

I slid behind the wheel and turned the key. The starter groaned and then stopped. My battery was dead.

Now it was a race to the basement to get the charger and an extension cord. I put it on quick charge and fortunately the engine turned over and I was ready to go. I was feeling pretty self satisfied knowing I could still make it to the club with time to warm up, not that that did much for my tennis.

I backed into the parking space at West Bay so I could get a jump start if necessary, turned off the car and hoped it would start after tennis. It did, so I repeated the parking precaution when I joined the guys including Bob Coker, who gave up playing tennis at 90, for coffee at Panera in East Greenwich. My next stop would be the Battery Shop on Post Road.

Fortunately, I didn’t need a jump start, but there was little sign of life at the Battery Shop. The garage doors were closed, however, a van was parked outside. Leaving the car running, I tried the door. To my surprise it was open although no one was immediately visible. The garage was dark but light was coming from a back room. I called out and got a response from Jim Quinn.

 “Doing paperwork?” I suggested.

He came out from behind the desk pushing one of those walkers that also serves as a seat.

“It’s the discs, and when I sit the pain goes away.” Jim explained that following the Covid shutdown the shop did away with Saturday hours. I could relate. With the shutdown, the Beacon went to once a week publication. We haven’t gone back to Tuesday/Thursday and I doubt we will. We agreed the pandemic has changed a lot. Yet Jim comes in on Saturday. I suppose some of it is the comfort of routine. Jim said he relishes getting out and the peace and quiet of Saturday’s.

We chatted for 15 minutes, sharing stories.

“We’re open at 7:30,” Jim said.

 I’ll be back I told him Monday.

When I got home, I pulled in close to the porch where I had left the extension and charger. I would be prepared.  Funny, I thought, how an annoying interruption that morning had changed the day… and provided the opportunity to talk with Jim who I must have seen at least ten times over the past 40 years on battery visits, but never really had the chance to meet.  I felt recharged.

P.S. Jim bought the business and brought it from Providence to Warwick in the early 70s. The Battery Shop got its start in 1916, patenting the mule battery in 1923. “Mule?” I asked Jim on Monday as they were working on my car. He explained that the invention stopped the battery’s hydrochloric gases from corroding the terminals. Amazing what you can learn when your car fails to start.

side up, editorial, recharge


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here