I’m sure Dennis thought he would be fixing cars and selling tires until he got too old to work. I don’t know what Jeff’s plans were. What happened was the unexpected. Dennis got cancer of the esophagus. He still had young children, he was in his early 50s, he fought it.
Dennis had always been a big guy. Beyond robust or solid. Rotund. Cancer treatments can be almost as cruel as the disease itself. It burned him down. He lost at least half his body weight. He couldn’t work. The medical bills piled up. Jeff took on the business.
The family got involved, answering the phone, figuring out the running of the operation. They bought a computer. Looking for something more to keep things going, they started renting trucks.
Dennis had always let people run a tab. I never had to, but I know it must have been tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills in that file cabinet. Jeff tried to tighten up on the billing and payments. His girlfriend, later fiancee, started helping. She was working on a business degree, and I think she got a handle on the cash flow.
Dennis did not survive his cancer. He passed away a few years ago.
Jeff kept the shop open and we continued to be loyal customers. My sons were driving, and still in town, so more old cars came into the picture, all needing towing and repairs. For the longest time, I would say, “I’m going to have to take the truck to Dennis, ” and she would say, “Jeff…”