Oh how I wish you could see the sign I am about to talk about. It reads Machacek Iron Works. I wish you could feel the minus thirty degree weather I happily experienced that was swirling about my multi layered covered head as we erected the building this sign’s attached to. I wish you had been here the New Year’s Day the gearbox in the lathe, our money maker piece of equipment, took a powder and we threw it in the truck and drove it to San Francisco where this guy who I swear was seven, yes seven feet tall just leaned over the side of the truck picked up the 100+ pound box like it was a box of chicken nuggets, carrying it off saying it would be just a few days. I wish, I wish, I wish. But! Yes a wish filled “but.” But wishes are like bubbles in champagne. They float up, sparkle, pop and after you smile they are gone. Everything gone but the memories and that’s a great thing.
This sign heralds to all those who pass by my house there is, well was, a machine shop in the big white building it’s attached to. Its hand painted on a four foot by eight foot piece of plywood. Black border, black lettering on a white background. Corners cut in half moons the same size as half of one of the big Number 2 tin vegetable cans we used to get from a local restaurant and used for years to wash small parts in. Announcing Machacek Iron Works is in within and counted as one of many mom and pop businesses within the confines of Nevada as in every state in the union. If you have ever been around a “Type A” personality then you will understand that even though I say the sign was hand painted it was done by a hand that would settle for nothing but perfection. I think that is why he was successful in that shop. His work was perfection. His jobs were called Ma-hot-jobs. A touch more in cost yes, but you didn’t have to ever worry about it being wrong or not backed by a never expiring guarantee.
That’s where I was today. Outside looking at that sign. Since 1977 it has been there. It is very old, tattered, worn and needs to be repainted. Something that has only been done twice as I remember. But after 43 years it is time to close all things related to Machacek Iron Works. That includes the sign. Not that people are lined up every day to have repairs made. Not like the day we were working and this guy comes walking into the shop from apparently thin air. Very unusual since most customers drug, pulled, pushed or trailered something broken into the yard. He said he needed an axel worked on. After discussion he said he would bring his truck into the yard. “Well bring her in,” my other half said and the trucker walked away. Pretty soon we heard him start up his Peterbilt and not long after he began to come into the yard. And come into the yard. And come into the yard. He was pulling a lowboy trailer with two extra trailers and he was on the ground with what I remember was twenty two axels. It was our sign that caught his eye out in the middle of our farming community. That’s the life I think of when I think of this sign. I wish you those memories.
Change is scary and wonderful. Like a baby’s diaper. HAHA I saw a post recently on Facebook of a wonderful old neon sign in Wells, Nevada. Those wonderful signs are such a huge part of Nevada from Jackpot to Las Vegas. But to me? The signs put up by just regular people pecking out a living by getting up each day scratching out a living. Enjoying it along the way. Well ok, 99.999% of the time. Nothing’s perfect. Except that sign. It was perfect. I remember designing our logo and was ecstatic when it met with his approval. After all it was his hands that created magic in the shop. The sign was an expense we talked about for a while. It wasn’t something like a lighted sign or a sign that moved. It was a piece of plywood that over the years has weathered and needs some TLC. Not in a hurry to take it down. I think I know what is in the future for this sign. Of course I thought I would be living on some far off island with something fruity in a frosty glass in my hand too. It’s that egg counting that is never guaranteed. Not like a Machacek Iron Work guarantee.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Find her on Face Book, Instagram or at firstname.lastname@example.org