Given the remote location of the town where our cabin is located, our neighbors typically perform more than one role in the community. Scotty owns the market and can bring you a dump-truck full of gravel for your road. Eli works for Cal Trans and runs the volunteer fire department. Garrett is an apprentice lumberjack, but he’ll also come and haul stuff to the dump.
Then there’s Refrigerator Dan. He has a daytime job and he works on propane-fueled refrigerators. In an area where everyone relies on propane as fuel for everything Refrigerator Dan is a valuable member of the community.
The only thing is, Refrigerator Dan doesn’t have a telephone.
My stepmother told us that you’d have to go to his house when you needed his service. She said, “He lived on a road near the old store, and you’d know when you reached his house. There were refrigerators all around the yard. He would be at work, so you’d leave a note with your name—he’d know where the Narlock place was—and a day for him to come by and he’d show up on that day.”
I’ve never met Refrigerator Dan, but in the last few years when we’ve needed any kind of service we’ve been lucky to reach those people by cell phone. It doesn’t make for good storytelling, but it makes repair work a lot easier.