September 28, 2012

Love By Apple Pie

"Love by apple pie"
There are many ways to show love and affection. When you've been married for a long time you find love hidden in the form of clean clothes and nice fresh bedding. It might look like a stack of paid bills or maybe even an empty dishwasher. There are simple signs throughout the house that we sometimes don't see because we aren't looking close enough. We have a tendency to take things for granted in our lives. There are times when love begins with the sense of smell. The aroma of that first apple pie of autumn. The sight of that delicate crust of golden deliciousness cooling on the kitchen counter. Slices of apple-pie-love oozing warmly onto the plate. And so the fall season descends upon the tile counter wrapped in a favorite pie plate. There were no words exchanged except, "The pie is done." Sometimes it's that subtle, that easy. Those tiny signs have found their way into many corners of our home. They are in your home too. They are not always an expensive bouquet of roses or box of candy. When the leaves begin to turn and the heat clicks on in our house anyway, love comes by way of an apple pie. A most delicious apple pie filled with love.  Here is my thank you, my return hug. It comes many decades in. Your pie Mrs. G., was perfect.

"Love is Delicious"

September 26, 2012

My Friend Is Back

My Friend Is Back
By John R. Greenwood

Part #1

This post is about a dear friend of mine--my back. My friend the back has been there for me for many years. Beginning in the tall pine trees where I learned to climb high above the world and view it through the eyes of a seven year old boy to the present day some fifty years later. My back has paid the mortgage for close to four decades. MB as I will refer to him in this piece as, has always done his job - even when I tested his limits. I did that recently and I feel he is owed an apology. I never meant to hurt you MB. It was one of those manly-man times where you (MB) were really strutting your stuff. The more frequent my early morning workouts the better we both felt. Projects were getting done as fast as ambition could keep up. There has never been a question of your willingness to man-up. 

I haven’t been as good to you as you have been to me. I have abused you with handling thousands of cases of milk over the years. When the bills are paid based on how much milk you take off the truck it’s pretty much a given you (MB) are going to take your lumps. There were many years in the 1980's where I topped off the day delivering overloaded pickup trucks full of 50 lb. bags of ice just to see if you could stand tall. You did of course, and then some. 

As a homeowner, drainage ditches and fence post holes were simple practice drills for you. The years when you were busy keeping up with two active sons seemed to be when you were happiest. Whether you were swinging them happily in big wide circles by the arms or carrying them proudly through the mall in their toddler years you always did it with the same dad-like pride as the man in front of you. 

You never asked for more of a reward than an occasional day fishing or a fall hike in the woods. Only now do you get a well deserved nap once in awhile. Even those are not to appease you. They are mostly due to increased opportunity not need. 

In our teen years you carried me up and down high school soccer fields, YMCA basketball courts, and through day long tackle football games in backyards throughout the village of Greenfield Center where we grew strong together. You stabilized me safely on the lightly padded seats of Lil' Indian minibikes, Honda motorcycles, and Ski Doo snowmobiles. You stood behind me proudly as a volunteer fireman as I sprayed burning embers with a powerfully charged two and a half inch nozzle spray. 

This past weekend I pushed your limits and we both fell victim. I tested you and failed you. You did your job. I should have been kinder. I must look out for those who have been there for me. When you couldn't take any more you gave out. Even then you found it difficult to wave the white flag. You were in denial but it was clear. You were down for the count. After an hour of trying to muscle me through the afternoon we both said enough is enough and headed slowly, baby step by baby step to the parking lot. Pain unlike anything either of us have ever experienced overtook us. 

It was a long night. Over the counter pain pills were like trying to feed a hungry Rottweiler half a Milkbone for dinner. A large man lay in the fetal position broken and exhausted. A short fifteen foot walk to the bathroom would seem like the last half mile climb to the top of Everest. 

Morning would come in what seemed like a week later. Any abrupt move or twist felt like a train wreck. Mrs G. stood by the side of the bed giving me sympathetic words of support. This problem is one she could not fix with her wife-magicwand. There wasn't much either one of us could do. I needed to wait this one out. I insisted she go to work because my whining would most likely hurt her ears and might cause irreparable damage to her hearing if she didn't leave the property. 

As she pulled out of the driveway I dialed my boss. "I don't think I'm going to make it in today," I whimpered. These were words he rarely heard from this phone number. He understood. He was in the middle of a DIY retaining wall project himself. Men don't usually feel too sorry for other men in pain. This was an exception. He knew the pain in the phone was real. He offered to come and take me to the doctor. My man-pride refused. I was going to take a shower and get there on my own, even if it killed me. Baby steps began again. I had a doctor to see and life to live. 

Part #2

The pre-doctor visit prep would be a condensed and abbreviated one today. The most reachable pair of pants and clean t-shirt would suffice. Loafers with no socks were a given. I found an old cane carved by my grandfather back in the 30's in the closet. I grabbed my keys and check book. I ran shuffled to the door, eased down the back steps, inched my way behind the wheel, and thought to myself, "Mrs. G is going to kill me, bad back and all!" 

As I sat in the parking lot of Wilton Medical Arts trying to assess my ability to make it all the way inside I observed waves of gray shuffling past my windshield. It was depressing to say the least. I suddenly had a vision of me and a dozen others in my condition lined up in the starting gate over at the Saratoga Racecourse patiently waiting for the bell to ring and the gates to fling open. "And their off!" was echoing through my head. I got to the front door safely. I had reached the quarter-pole. This would be a heck of a finish. 

The poor receptionist winced as though she could feel the pain as I answered her question, "What are you here for today?" She assured me she would get me assistance as quickly as possible. So far I was glad I had decided not to wait another minute. 

A nurse came to get me a short time later. He walked briskly. He lost me at the first turn. I finally caught up and he deposited me in Room #2. As he took my blood pressure and temperature Nurse Claudia entered. She would need more info. Date of birth is always on the list. "Weight?", is always the one where my nose inexplicably begins to hurt. Fortunately she did not verify and expose my lie today. 

This is where the day took a happy turn. 

In Claudia's effort to provide comfort to a patient who replied, "#9" to the pain scale question, she tried to incorporate some small talk. Somehow the conversation led to her dogs. Whenever I am engaged in small talk with a stranger and a dog is mentioned I inevitably ask, "Are you familiar with Jon Katz?" This conversation was no exception. Claudia stopped dead in her tracks and with eyes instantly widened she responded, "Are you kidding? We went to his Dancing Dogs book signing at Battenkill Books last night. It was wonderful!" She had no way of knowing that my pain was really a #10 today because I missed Jon's book signing due to my back. I had been looking forward for days, to a trip to Cambridge and my favorite book store Battenkill Books. I now made her stop at the door. "I am in a writing group that Jon is heading." I said excitedly. A back and forth your kidding, no I'm not ping pong game ensued. She disappeared for a moment and returned pulling her coworker Heather by the arm into the room. "He knows Jon Katz!",  Claudia said to Heather. Another ping pong game followed. Heather proceeded to tell me of how Jon's book, Going Home, had fallen off a bookstore shelf onto her foot one day, shortly after she had lost her beloved pet. So here we were, three big Katz fans talking about life, and death, smiling and sharing a feel good story. My back pain dropped to a #6 within minutes. The pen I held in my hand began to quiver. The pad in my pocket seemed to rocket into the other hand. "Would you mind giving me your first names? I think I have a blog post brewing here." 

By the time Dr. Jennifer entered the room I was on my way to recovery. She agreed with my self diagnosis that my pain was from over-exertion. She said with a week of taking it easy and a couple days of muscle relaxers and anti-inflamatories, that I would be just fine. I thanked her for her help and told her I felt better already. 

* I would like to thank everyone at Wilton Medical Arts. Their caring and attentive staff took an extremely painful morning and turned it into a very comforting and pleasant day. We are lucky to have them. 
Yours truly,
John R. Greenwood

My Grandfather's Cane


Here is a list of the carvings on this cane
Camp Bacon 1935
Mud Lake
Lake George 1956-57
Mt. View -58

September 22, 2012

Right or Left?

Election Signs 
I was headed to the dump (transfer station) this morning and for some reason the upcoming election came to mind. I am not a good American. I have trouble being enveloped in the trash talking garbage that is cloaked in the context of campaign strategy. I yearn for honesty and integrity. I crave truth in advertising. I really, really, really hate the individual campaign signs that litter our roadsides. Show me your past record. Tell me what your plan is and how you intend to accomplish it. You can sprinkle it with a little blue-sky vision of the future but be realistic about it. Let me make up my mind without that, "You must call within the next five minutes" sales pitch. I am a pretty good judge of character. I will figure it out 9 out of 10 times on my own. I am the average American. I care enough to want to be involved, but don't smother me in BS.

A Long And Winding Road
Two more months of twists and turns. Living in the world today is anything but airport runway straight. There's always someone standing in judgement and expressing their opinion about how you should live your life. What ever happened to live and let live? Yes, this is simplistic and vague but it truly is what I was thinking about this Saturday morning. I am enjoying life the way it is. I almost feel guilty about it. The turmoil and tragedy of the world as it revolves around me should worry me--but it doesn't. I am committed to enjoying the autumn of my life without letting the twists and turns overcome personal happiness. Maybe we just aren't appreciative enough of what we do have? Maybe we're a little better off than the news wants us to believe. I for one am quite content with what I have and do not have. After all, it's the bed I've made. I have had all the opportunity in the world. Didn't you? 

Don't Be Confused 

Yes, it was a trip to the dump not to the nation's capital but that's the way I look at life. I do it my way. Like a tail waggin' Lab who just wants a scratch behind the ear, I live today, for today. I embrace the craziness around me--it's not going away. So come this fall when you head to the polls, don't worry about going left or right. Don't feel like you need to wave a Democratic or Republican flag. The one waving in the breeze off the pole on the front porch is the only one that matters.

September 19, 2012

The View

The View

This is the view from my driveway. I took this simple photo before leaving for work the other day. When I look out from this spot I can instantly retreat to the year 1981 and the day we moved in. The boys were peanuts and they couldn't wait to run around the yard. Do you know that feeling you get every so often when you are in a place and you're suddenly able to see the past just as it was decades earlier? I can do that from this spot on demand. It is especially easy at this time of year. We moved here in the month of October. I can remember looking up the road and seeing an open field and few trees. There were two new homes where now there are multiple housing developments, condos, and apartments. Back then it was a quiet little corner with a car or two coasting by. I now live in the Talladega infield. This was a nice place to plant a family. It was close, but not too close, quiet but not too quiet. I've had cars crash in the yard, deer and fox run through it and fixed many broken cars and trucks here. There's been games played with pucks, basketballs, footballs, and baseballs. The aluminum siding can attest to it. The property was once the home of an old grade school. I believe that's why it's blessed with smiles and embraces fond memories. I miss the commotion. I love the opportunity that circles this little hunk of Wilton. I live in the middle of life. I can head in any direction and find something worth the price of that gallon of gas. I like it here. I plan to stay. There are days I can't get out of the driveway anyway.

September 17, 2012

Headed Home

Headed Home

There's no better feeling than heading home. Whether it's after a short business trip or simply at the end of a long day, pulling in the driveway and seeing the buttery glow oozing from kitchen window is one that's tough to beat. I had been away on business for a couple of days. I was leaving Plattsburgh on my way to Wilton with that vision planted firmly in my brain. I turned the radio off so I might better absorb the beauty of the darkening Adirondack Mountains. It was a beautiful evening. The southbound traffic was scant. I was tired. I wished I could just snap my fingers and be at my backdoor. I took a few deep breaths and decided to just enjoy the ride. I began to think of how lucky I was. My wife was safe and comfortable at home. I know because we had spoken for a brief moment before we both headed home from work. She was 120 miles closer. I set the cruise control and watched the green mile-markers file by. The shadows of the high peaks framed the horizon. My mind wandered to a far off place. The thought of young soldiers stationed far from home began to flood my mind. All those men and women stationed in some hole of hell waiting anxiously for orders to pack. Many of them on their second and third tours of duty. How strong that desire to pull in the driveway must be for them. I salute those brave and resilient soldiers. I was gone for just one day, not for one-thousand days. We kept them away far too long on their business trip. I was horribly inconvenienced by having to sleep on a too spongey pillow. If they slept, it was in spurts. The loved one at home dozed light and edgy, always in fear of a knock on the door or a midnight phone call. I am fortunate. Most of you reading this are too. We take home for granted. We take going home much more so. I thank all men and women who serve. I wish we could all be home together--tonight.

September 15, 2012

A Wise Owl Once Said

A Wise Owl
by John R. Greenwood

A wise owl once whispered from high above 

go young man
go now
do not linger and wait for tomorrow
yesterday is just a day away from the one before 
so on... 
so forth...
speak your piece
live in peace
insist on love
when clouds form 
do not run
do not hide
open your arms wide and welcome the rain
open your eyes wide and listen 
rain drops sing beautiful songs on tin topped microphones

be wise young man when darkness falls
catch it
embrace it 
learn from it
then send it off into the morning 

wise young men are bravest 
when hearts are strong and full
men with trunks of many rings grow stronger with age
deeper rooted 
long branches sway 
a wise owl perched among them
watching from high above

September 14, 2012

Texas Red Hots, NY.

Texas Road Find

Work brought me to the city of Plattsburgh NY recently and as I am prone to do, I approached my destination from the less travelled side. Today I ventured off I#87 an exit or two before Plattsburgh and scooted up Rt#9 which runs the edge of Lake Champlain. My eyes ever mounted on a swivel, the scalloped color of red and the message it shouted forced me to take a sharp left into the parking lot of this vintage drive in. Being a fan of Guy Fieri I couldn't resist. My objective was to snap a quick photograph, spin around in the parking lot and finish up my two mile journey up the road. 

How could you not love this face? 

I pulled up along side and grabbed my camera which is always less than an arms length away. Before I could pull it from the case a young man in his twenties approached my driver side window. He appeared on a mission and I was prepared to be asked what my intentions were. I was uncomfortably mistaken. He had a pad and pencil in his hand. He was coming out to take my food order. Apparently a non-carpetbagger would have known that. I braced myself. "What can I get you?" the polite young man in the clean t-shirt asked. "Um", was the only response I had prepared at this point. I downshifted quickly. "I didn't know you had curbside, I just pulled in because of your neat looking building. I really didn't want anything to eat. Do you mind if I just take a picture?" He handled it better than expected. The parking lot was empty and the tourist season was waining. I'm sure there were still bills to be paid. He said, "Sure, go ahead." and retreated to the side door a bit perturbed--I would imagine. 

"You want to give the place a hug."
I felt like the guy who just told the neighbor kid he was too busy to play right now and that he needed to go back home to his mother. My guilt was not strong enough to keep me from jumping out and grabbing a picture or two though. I walked around to the front of the building which is a solid (?) wall of glass block. In the middle are two classic pane-glass doors. As I raised my camera trying to get a distinct angle, I zoomed in on one small pane of glass. There like a beacon was the reason my truck came to rest in the parking lot that day. STOP HATE was the message. 

We'll, now what. Guilt did grab me by the arm pretty hard this time. Maybe I am just a little hungry? I tapped my back pocket to be sure I didn't leave my wallet in the truck and I went inside. The place was as immaculate as it was old. The counter was a mini-horseshoe and quaint as hell. "I think I'll try a Michigan with onions -- and a cold Pepsi. I gotta try one.", I said with a you-got-me smile. The year my odometer turned 50 I stopped being bashful. "Do you mind if I take a picture of that, No Spitting sign?, That is so cool." The kid never flinched, "Sure, go ahead." 

I didn't want to test the law. 

Two dogs, a tip, and ten bucks later I was full--artistically and belly. Indigestion today was welcome. I stood and shook the young mans hand. I thanked him for being a gentlemen and letting me rummage through the restaurant. I asked how long the place had been there? He said this was their seventieth year. The place was as fresh as a college freshman on the campus to my north. As I turned toward the door one more photo...  

Ahhh, that was good! 

September 11, 2012


By John R. Greenwood 

I was reading some constructive advice our Hubbard Hall Writing Project mentor Jon Katz was giving another member of our group recently. It pertained to one of her blog posts and it flipped a switch that initiated this post. This is a bit more than one of my semi-witty photo captions or Facebook posts. This is a deep vein. Jon is always encouraging courage; courage to open the lid and let things out. In this particular case he pokes her with a stick and tells her the story line and subjects are interesting but she seems to, “duck out at the end.” That line struck a nerve. Throughout my life I have run from confrontation. Even though the piece he was critiquing was not about confrontation it was about digging deeper. I put great effort in my blog and I lean heavy to the positive. This piece will head off in the opposite direction but they do connect at the end. I hope you hang around. 

The word confrontation brings me back to childhood and a darker side of my youth that I don’t hide or bury--I don’t embrace it either. Arguing, sarcasm, and yelling were a large part of my young life, the common denominator; alcohol. It saturated our family as far back as I can remember. It was thinned out of the picture when I married my wife. She and I vowed to remove the impact of alcohol on our young family. Although I enjoy a cold beer as much as anyone else, it was very seldom found in our home during our child rearing years and beyond.

As a boy growing up, Friday night rituals revolved around some form of alcohol and an argument. Surliness and confrontation swirled like a harsh March wind. These fights between mom and dad would intensify to the point of door slamming and dish breaking and last long into the night. There were many times when my sister and I would sit at the top of the stairs waiting for the next crash or nasty comment. Sarcasm grew with each popped top. Sleep came only by squeezing my pillow tight over my head, deep within my bed. Tears and sobbing for the real life nightmare to end were common.

Why share this story? Why open up a past that is just that? I felt a need to explain why I run from confrontation like a man from commitment. There is a world full of people with this story and many much worse. Millions drag a heavy bag and never shed an ounce. I survived just fine. I want to be very clear. I had a great childhood in so many other ways that they have taken precedent over the uglier side. My parents loved me. They taught me common courtesy and manners. They instilled work ethic and honesty. They built a strong foundation while the earthquake was shaking the house. I love them and miss them. They had cracks. We all do.

I seize up like an engine void of oil every time an argument erupts. I hate nitwit reality shows filled with finger pointing and hand waving morons. I despise politics and the useless character bashing that ensues. When a confrontation does land at my table I stammer, stutter, and collapse like an $8 lawn chair. 

What I do embrace is cooperation and compromise. I seek them out. Positive reinforcement is my motto, my mantra. It feels better. It fuels better. It makes more sense. Minds run better filled with goodness.

I will struggle to post this piece, but I will. There are others out there who have travelled a similar path. Rough and bumpy paths can lead to beautiful places. Many of them do. It is important to watch your steps as you go, someday you may need to return. We all need to remember where we came from.

September 10, 2012

Treasure In The Attic

I was searching for an old photograph the other day. When I couldn't find it in any of our albums, I headed for the attic. Our attic looks like an attic should. It is a collection of bins and boxes stacked haphazardly from one end to the other. All efforts to organize and reduce inventory over the last thirty years have failed miserably.  We could probably decorate the White House Christmas Tree with the assortment of bulbs, lights and shiny things we have assembled over the years. There is a smattering of  old broken toys and few dusty pieces of out dated luggage patiently waiting to be called into action. My favorite spot in the attic is the far north corner. There nestled nostalgically against the rafters are some trunks full of memories. It was in one of those trunks that I found this beautiful old book. It is a famous collection of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 
I had never seen it before. I wondered if it appeared from some literary ghost as a sign to keep my pen tuned and moving. I thump, thump, thumped down the attic stairs and held the new found treasure out for my wife to see. "Honey, do you know where this book came from?" She looked it over for a moment. She couldn't recall. She thought she probably bought it at a yard sale somewhere. She just wasn't sure. She said she may have had it since she was a little girl. She wondered why it mattered where it came from. I'm not certain why it was important to me but it kept speaking to me to look deeper. So I began to read it. Maybe there was a magical message buried within. The name Olga Pelyo was hand written inside the first page. I can only assume it may have been a school book long, long ago. 

Essay I.

The last paragraph of the first essay 'History' reads as follows: 
Broader and deeper we must write our annals, - from an ethical reformation, from an influx of the ever new, ever sanative conscience,-if we would trulier express our central and wide-related nature, instead of this old chronology of selfishness and pride to which we have too long lent our eyes. Already that day exists for us, shines in on us at unawares, but the path of science and of letters is not the way into nature, but from it, rather. The idiot, the Indian, the child and unschooled farmer's boy come much nearer to these ---understand them better than the dissector or the antiquary.

This little treasure is just that. With every page I read it's value will increase. From priceless to timeless...

September 09, 2012

Golf Or Easter Egg Hunt?

Brookhaven Golf Course 
I am not a golfer. I am a kid with 18 holes of woodland in which to search for white dimpled Easter eggs. Rooting around the wooded edges of a golf course looking for a golf ball and emerging with a pocket full of them can be as rewarding as sinking a twenty foot putt. We had our annual company golf tournament today. Last years tournament was the last game of golf I played. It's not that I wouldn't embrace being a weekend warrior but golf is too demanding. It demands time and money. The best thing about our tournament is the course. Brookhaven Golf Course is located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The course is dotted with old stonewalls, century tall pines, and crystal clear spring fed streams. There are golf carts full of laughs, cold blue beverages and Tiger Woods wanna-be's. At a company tournament the player's ages range from those in their young twenties to those like myself who are also there practicing for a retirement pastime. Today is also the first Sunday of the NFL season so the air has a little extra dose of excitement in it. This post is simply a way to preserve the memory in a few photos and words. Even if you've never taken a swipe at a Titleist with a Ping I hope you will like the scenery.

The End 

September 08, 2012

Summer Flowers Wave Goodbye

Summer colors peak on a September afternoon as a flag waves goodbye. Autumn hues of gold and orange simmer behind the barn waiting to strut their stuff. 

American story of a young family and a starter home. A home that withstood the 80's, 90's, and beyond. It raised two boys and anchored a country corner for decades. 

Mrs. G decorates an intersection year after year. Her love and range of color is wide and constantly changing. 

No matter the angle the view remains the same. Fall beckons and so comes a change. 

September 04, 2012

Airfield Dance

Airfield Dance
by John R. Greenwood

I have never been up in an airplane. I am a 57 years old. I am not afraid. I simply have no place important enough to go where I need an airplane as a mode of transportation. I was returning from Bedlam Farm last Sunday and as I am prone to do when alone in my pickup on a sunny day, with over a half tank of gas; I take the road less traveled. I was leaving the village of Fort Edward headed west on Rt.#197. My steering wheel yanked hard to the left and suddenly I found myself on West River Road rumbling over a set of railroad tracks. On my left was a freshly mown field and a spec of blue was circling high above. There were a couple of cars with trunks open and two or three men with these brightly painted remote controlled airplanes. My wife was expecting me soon so I did not have much time to linger but I did ask if I could take a few pictures. The answer was,"Sure." I tried desperately to film some video. It was next to impossible to capture the planes in flight. What I did film would make you dizzy and want to kill me. I did grab a couple of simple pictures. I wanted to ask how much these planes cost? How were they powered? How did you get involved in this hobby? I didn't ask my questions but one thing was perfectly clear. There is something cativating about watching these planes in flight. It's relaxing to watch a choreographer control the dance of a plane as it twirls, soars, and loops around the tree lined edges of the plush green airfield. The sound of the small plane climbing, climbing, climbing higher and higher and then with the toggle of a toggle a giant bird of blue and white sails toward the earth, death just feet away and toggle back, throttle up, nose up, a brave bird flies off to the wooded edge and circles, happy to be alive!

September 03, 2012

Caged Moon

Caged Moon 
by John R. Greenwood

caged moon seeks rescue
sealed from the sky 
held back from life above
like a bird with broken wing
caged cries within steel confines 
free me 
save me
let me circle wave filled oceans
let me haunt an autumn sky
with labored breath 
my heart aches
set me free 
don't let me die
the world awaits my arrival
a painter's eye seeks my pose
moon songs written need proof my magic powers
my glow 
a lovers embrace must warm 
set me free
I have life to light

September 01, 2012

The Service Department

"Oh what a feeling!"
My truck is sick. With only 29,000 miles on the odometer she's just a kid. A toddler in truck years. A week ago I was winding my way along the shores of the Sacandaga on route to visit my friend Doug for a day of fishing. With each sweeping left curve, and with the mph about 40, she was whining like a lost kitten. My first thought was the powersteering fluid might be low or leaking. I arrived at Doug's safely and we checked the truck over closely. We could detect no leak. Although we added a splash of power steering fluid the level appeared normal. The squealing continued on the ride home so the next step was to make an appointment with the truck doctor. I bought my Tundra about a year ago with only 18,000 miles on it's birth certificate. It was a Certified Pre-owned and I added another two years of extended warranty. I would not be happy if I got the,"She's not covered, song and dance." I did my homework. I spoke to a well schooled mechanic. I went online and researched service alerts for my make and model vehicle. I dug out my warranty info. Let me put it this way. After forty plus years of driving and dealing with car and truck repairs I'm a seasoned veteran of being snowed, screwed, taken for a ride, taken to the cleaner, hoodwinked, bullshitted, and robbed at pen-point. I don't go easy anymore. I am fair, polite, trusting to a fault and willing to write you a check- as long as you don't lie to me at the service desk. So with that thought in mind I called the birthplace of my Tundra, Lia Toyota of Colonie and made an appointment for 7:15am. Milkman hours, I like this place so far. I arrived right on time and parked right out front. I entered like a kid on his first day of classes, with my head on a swivel as if searching for room numbers and directions to my home room. I found the receptionist and she explained that all I needed to do was pull my vehicle up to the overhead doors and drive inside. Someone would then take my keys and information and the healing would begin. Wow, I wasn't expecting that. I must also add that this place is immaculate. They provide freshly brewed coffee, big screen tv's, ambient music, comfortable seating spread throughout a large and expansive showroom, and so far everyone has been polite and direct. I am cautiously optimistic. This is not my first rodeo. 

I enter the garage through this huge overhead door. A man is standing just inside. He has a clipboard. A man with a clipboard means only one thing; a form and lots of questions are about to follow. The polite gentleman writes down the VIN number and checks the mileage. He then leads me through a plate glass door to white-shirt man and passes me off like a baton in an Olympic event. My new white-shirt friend has a desk with two chairs in front. I sit down and he asks me to describe the problem in detail. Some of the doctors I have been to in the last few years could take some lessons from this procedure. I explain in great detail where the noise seems to be coming from. I also give him my unsolicited opinion on what I think the problem is. He actually listens to me. He then reviews how the diagnostics will work and what they will do from there. He points me toward the coffee and off into the cavernous showroom he goes.
I find a remote corner with a panoramic view of the facility. I pull out my iPad and begin typing away. If this gets ugly I will have it down on cyber-paper. 

This place is as relaxing as an Adirondack Lodge. I could sit here for days. I am about to doze into a coma when Mr. White Shirt approaches. Here we go, grab the boxing gloves and sound the bell, Round #1 is about to begin. "Mr. Greenwood," he quietly asks. "Can you come out here a minute. The 'Tech' wants to show you what he thinks is the problem." I prepare for a tussle. I've been here before. When they get real polite and stay more than an uppercut to the chin away I begin to suspect a bill in triple digits plus. The 'Tech' with the peach-fuzz chin brings me to the rear wheel. He points to a spot of shiny metal near the brake rotor. I bristle. I have a steering problem and they're going to tell me I need a $750 brake job! The 'Tech' says there is a backplate behind the rotor and that it seem to be rubbing just enough to create the squeal I am hearing. 'Tech' says he adjusted the plate and he thinks it will solve my problem. I'm not buying it. White-Shirt and 'Tech' sense my apprehension and pause. "We don't normally do this Mr. Greenwood, but if you would like you can take 'Tech' out for a test drive and see if you can recreate the noise." Okay, now were talking, I will finally show them I am no Just-Write-a-Check pushover. Off 'Tech' and I go racing through the side streets of Colonie trying make a Tundra whine. It never happens. It's as quiet as a Lexus. No squeal, squeak, or whine can be created. I raise the white flag. How much do I owe? White-Shirt explains it doesn't fall under the warranty because nothing really failed. The cost for repair is less than a Franklin. If I get home in silence, I'm a happy man. I do and I am. 

The moral of this longwinded story? 

I love my Toyota
I have a renewed optimism with regards to repair facilities
I am hard to impress, but White-Shirt and 'Tech' did it. 
No matter how old you are, there is still wonder left in the world.
My truck remains silent and whine-less
I am secretly hoping for a simple problem to appear. That coffee was great and the chairs....