Saturday, April 15, 2006

Local Flavor in Central Texas

If you want a job done right, you go where a man’s workmanship speaks for himself. When you’re in unfamiliar surroundings, you take a clue from what the locals do.

Over the Easter weekend my Bride and I traveled to Central Texas to join a gathering of the clan for the holiday.

It was a perfect excuse to take the new 2006 Toyota Avalon away from the concrete jungle, and see how it stretched out on a sinewy stretch of asphalt. Once we threaded our way past the traffic snarls of the city, the drive was excellent.

North of Brenham on HWY 36, however, we encountered a gravel truck heading south, and like the tail of a comet, it’s passing was marked by stones and pebbles sucked into the slip stream. We drove through what sounded like a meteor shower, and were peppered with projectiles moving in the opposite direction at an estimated 120-mph relative to us.

What shopping carts are to new cars, rock chips are to virgin windshields, and we picked up a one-inch startburst with the impact, smack dab in the middle of the glass, about two inches above the bottom.

The only way I could have felt worse would it to have been my own personal car. When we reached Belton, we searched out a place to eat, and a place to get the windshield fixed.

In Belton, you’re not eating right if you’re not eating at Crow’s Hamburgers, on Old Waco Road, just north of HWY 93. Two burgers and a shake and fries may not be on anyone’s best health diet, but in the midday sunshine, under a 100-year old cypress tree, there’s nothing better for the body and soul. The locals agree, judging by the crowd that was still waiting in line for food, long past the Noon hour.

Next stop was a place to get the glass fixed, and my father recommended a glass shop in nearby Temple where the owners do more than just fix glass.

Perfection is a way of life for Billie and Bobby Giniewicz at Action Auto Glass, at the corner of I-35 and Loop 336.

Anyone who can take a 1950’s-era rust bucket and transform it into works of art like these 1955 and 1957 masterpieces deserved more than my consideration for fixing a windshield.

The Giniewicz brothers and their friends meet at the shop on the weekends to resurrect the works of art Detroit rendered when tail fins were cool, convertibles were marks of manhood, and the sweetest sound in the world was generated by a massive V-8 under the hood, resonating through straight pipes out the back. The second-sweetest sound is what the crowd made when the hood was opened to reveal the handiwork within.

These are more than works of art, they’re labors of love. Time, sweat, and big bucks, where two years and $60,000 worth of parts can result in some best-of-show automobiles, and bona-fide traffic stoppers when they drive past.

When the owner of a classic automobile first begins to re-build his car, he is wise to have the irreplaceable curved glass removed and cleaned by an expert. That's the connection between Action Auto Glass, the Giniewicz brothers, and the Toyota Avalon we were driving. Perfection demands perfection.

Billie was busy with his buddies, coaxing the carcass of a ’57 coupe into shape when we drove up, but he took time out from his hobby to expertly repair the stone damage on our Avalon test vehicle. The shop wasn’t even open for business, but the neighbors say the Giniewicz brothers have this reputation for service. They lived up to it, and then some.

Like I said, when you want something done right, you go where the locals recommend for the best service and craftsmanship.

Billie had us ready to go in under 20-minutes…but we spent an hour and a half just admiring what he does when he’s not fixing glass.

No comments: