Real Stories From Life at a Dealership

People are the experience

Tim Fuller

Since Tim is a respected local business man and past president of the Rotary, I shall endeavor to not cause any consternation that would arise with any sudden exposure of events from the past. Not that there is any, mind you. I’m just sayin…

A football memory or two might be in order.

Everyone connected with the football program at Antelope Valley High School has great memories of the 1976 season. An undefeated season and the CIF Championship our senior year, it still feels good.

Tim was an inside Linebacker, I was an outside Linebacker. We were on the field together quite a bit. Together with Joe Maher and Jim Eckmann, we were the starting linebackers on what has to be considered one of the best defenses in the history of CIF football.

It was a home game at Mays field on a Friday night in Lancaster. The stadium was completely full. A nice, cool autumn night with a few thousand screaming fans, Football was king in those days and we were holding court.

It seemed hardly anybody could score on us. The team we were playing that night would regularly run a Quarterback option play. Where the QB comes down the line and either runs the ball or pitches it to a running back. My responsibility when they ran that play was to take out the QB.

By the way I believe that I led the team in personal fouls that year. Let’s just say that on the field I displayed a lot of bad intent. Infliction of pain, as a means to breaking down an opponent, just made sense to me.

The opposing team had the ball and they were inside our twenty yard line, which means they were close to scoring. They ran the option to Tim and my side. The Tight end tried to block me but was ineffective and I was immediately in the QB’s face. I reached up with my right hand and grabbed a hand full of facemask. Yes, that’s illegal. As I attempted to displace his head and helmet from his body, he exposed the football. I seized the moment and punched the ball from his grasp with my left fist. Tim had been closing on the ball and when he saw the loose pigskin, he did exactly what he should of, and he picked it up and ran.

A lot of guys really hustled and made some great blocks as Tim was not the fastest guy on the team. Tim managed to ramble with the football about 85 yards, all of the way to the end zone. There was a lot of screaming from the stands and it would have been a touchdown if there hadn’t been a flag thrown on the play. Stupid Referee! He called a facemask penalty on me. Tim’s fumble recovery and touchdown was nullified.

Later when the dust had settled and Tim and I reflected back on that almost glorious moment. Tim told me he received great satisfaction from that play. It was the only time in his high school career that he got to touch the football. “You always wonder what you would do if you had the opportunity” Tim shared with me. “When my moment came, I picked it up and ran.”

I have had the opportunity to work for Tim and stay friends; Tim has continued to do the right thing. In one of the darkest times of my life, the death of my daughter, when that moment came, Tim was there. When I needed him, he picked things up and he ran with it. Without hesitation. I love you Tim.


October 16, 2010 Posted by | eric prothro | 6 Comments

Rod Finkley

The first time I met Rod Finkley was my junior year in high school. I think we were with his brother Larry and Larry Edwards. It was at their place that they lived with their dad, just off of Lancaster Blvd. We were listening to the Rush album 2112 and smoking copious amounts of pot. I could be wrong, but that’s what I remember.
Rod and I took a road trip one time during our school days. We were in my Ranchero on the 5 freeway in Los Angeles. I actually don’t remember where we were going, just some of the events of the day.

An older black man pulled alongside of us in an amazing classic car. Rod rolled down the window and asked what it was. The driver flashed a gang sign and Rod responded in kind. Being a white boy from the desert, I didn’t have a clue as to the meaning of these hand gestures. Rod told me that it was the sign for the Crypts gang. I never knew there was such a thing. The driver then told us that it was a Stutz Bearcat. A pre world war one race car that became the symbol of wealth from the 1920’s.
Rod and I traveled a bit further and decided that we needed to use a restroom. Not taking into consideration what part of LA we were in, we just pulled of the freeway and into the nearest gas station. I parked and went to get the key to the restroom. There was a Mexican guy working at the station. When I asked for the key, he just looked at Rod and I for a moment. I asked again. His response was a simple “fuck off”. It looked like he was disturbed by the fact that a black and a white guy were there. Looking back I think it was just because we were not one of his homies.
My demeanor changed in response to his language and I was not used to being spoken to like that. Before I could say anything to let him know how I felt about that, the Mexican attendant whistled. Not just a whistle but a call to arms. Out of nowhere, homies in plaid shirts with bandanas on their heads were everywhere. Rod and I beat a hasty retreat back to my Ranchero and hurriedly exited the gas station, feeling lucky to come away unscathed.
I learned a good lesson about traveling in Los Angeles that day.

Rod and I went many places together and with our friends during those years, including Zuma Beach many times. Rod was a little younger than I, but was a tough football player and had my respect. I have always been proud to call him a friend. The only regret I have was the year I lived in Boise Idaho, I had no idea Rod lived there. I didn’t find that out until after I had moved back to California.
I like seeing Rod on Face book and reading things that are going on in his life. I will always think of him as a close friend and remember some of the lessons learned. Love you brother.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | eric prothro | 1 Comment

Under Darryl’s Hood

With Darryl, there are so many possibilities, it is hard to pick out just one from all of the experiences we have had. Let’s go to the early 1980’s. At Clubhouse 41 in Lancaster on the corner of 15th St. west and Avenue J-8. Darryl were 18 and I was 23. Darryl had a white Datsun 510 sedan that usually ran good.
We decided to go out for a few drinks. Why would we let a little thing like being under age get in the way? Darryl drove us to the club and we proceeded to go in. I knew the bouncer at the door (what a surprise) and when he started to check Darryl’s ID, I told him that it was okay because Darryl was with me. The bouncer said okay and in we went.
It seems to me that we had a great time as usual and drank way too much. Danced with quite a few pretty girls and played the fool, by staying till closing time. We went out to the Datsun and it started but would not stay running.
I knew a little bit about auto mechanics and proceeded to try to diagnose the problem. It was the carburetor. The only way to keep the engine running was for me to manually hold the throttle open, which was located on the driver’s side of the car. Darryl and I made the only logical decision we could, and that was to drive home. With me holding the throttle. Sitting on the front fender of the car. With the hood open.
So it was 2 am in the morning, nothing but drunks out and away we go. Now Darryl was having a hard time seeing and not just because he’s drunk. The hood was open and I was sitting on the driver’s side fender. Darryl had to lean half of his body out of the window to see around me so he could drive. The fact that he was very drunk probably made this stunt driving a lot easier.
Across town we went and arrived home without incident. The next morning we smiled at each other a smile that only friends who do the impossible together can know.

October 14, 2010 Posted by | eric prothro | 1 Comment

I’m a Rude Cyclist?

I live 50 miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park. I have beautiful places to ride and get to deal with tourist regularly that drive like complete idiots.

This morning I was on my bicycle just before sunrise. I headed over to Hwy 4 to spend a couple of hours climbing hills. Hwy 4 goes from the 99 freeway near Stockton, over Ebbetts Pass (Elevation 8750’). The part I ride on regularly has steep climbs and a nice shoulder so I am not too close to traffic. The traffic can include logging trucks, vacation RV’s and people in a hurry to go either to the valley or wine tasting.

At the top of the three mile climb is a viewpoint, Vista Point. It is a convenient place to take a quick break for nourishment or whatever is needed. After doing three climbs I stopped for a brief minute. I see a Nissan Maxima with Maryland plates (tourist) coming my way very slowly. The car came to a complete stop. It was sitting in the middle of the highway where the speed limit is 65 mph. and on a curve with limited visibility.

They were looking at each other and motioning like they were lost. And they sat. I couldn’t just let them sit there until a logging truck came by so I attempted to wave them into Vista Point. After looking at me rather stupidly they pulled in. I motioned for them to roll down their window. They looked at me with a vague lost tourist smile. I explained my point of view to them.

“I see people like you all of the time” I started. “You think your out in the country and the rules of the road no longer apply to you. You can’t just stop your car in a traffic lane and sit there, just like you can’t make u-turns on this roadway”. (Another tourist favorite)
I implored them to drive like they had at least a little intelligence as to not cause an accident. The driver just started to pull away.

He quickly stopped and backs up to me.

“I see a lot of bicyclist riding two abreast and that’s not safe” the guy says. “And sometimes they are not even in bike lanes!” Wow, this guy is obviously a deep thinker. “I’m not doing that, now am I pal?” Was my retort.

I continue with him, “It is stupid to stop in a traffic lane. You are going to cause an accident or kill somebody” I stated with a little increase in volume. I think he started to sense my urge to educate him on proper roadway etiquette by dragging him thru his window and rearranging his nose. No one wants to be beat up by a guy in spandex.

He hits the accelerator and yells out the window, “You are a rude cyclist”. I just smiled and went back to climbing hills.

October 13, 2010 Posted by | eric prothro | , , , , | 3 Comments