Saturday, June 4, 2022

Roman's chariots: The most trustworthy car-care advice you'll ever get

PHOTO BY Roman's sister in law Brenda 
My friend Roman Stankiewicz said cars have souls, just like people. 

Roman was like, "If you say nice things about your car when it's within earshot, it will hear you. Your car will perform better and require less maintenance." He's right. People who gripe about their cars have more problems with them.

My trusty 2011 Malibu, about which I've never uttered an unkind word,  treats me very well.

Roman knew what he was talking about. More than once, Roman was named the top new car salesman in Canada. Imagine!

I asked him what his secret was. He said, "Know what it is Pete? Total honesty."

And I just figured out, approximately seven minutes ago, why I believe him so easily.

I first met Roman so long ago I don't remember; it was probably before grade one. We've stayed friends since. 

But here's something that has never been documented before. When we were in, like, grade five,  I, Roman, and two other guys, Mike Blondin and Trevor MacIntyre, invented and played a game in our front yard that we called knee football.

Knee football is played like real football but instead of standing up and running or walking, you stayed on your knees. 

AUTHOR: I'm not in the picture because I was on
the sidelines, sketching.
I can only imagine what our moms thought of the idea. We played knee football so frequently, on a 15 foot by 15 foot plot of grass in our front yard, that it's one of the things I remember doing most with Roman. 

Imagine four already short kids  trying to actually pass throw,  run and tackle each other, but on our knees. It sounds like one of those dreams you're really glad to wake up from. Or an acid trip. 

Here's a weird coincidence. We four knee football stars were also altar boys together, at St. Clement's Church. It sounds like we had a kneeling fetish but we didn't. It's just something I thought about now.

We also shot a lot of pool. 

Get this: In the Stankiewicz living room, where other families might have had their best dining room furniture, often with plastic protecting the chairs and tables, the Stankiewiczes had a regulation sized pool table. And an upright piano.

What else does a family need? 

The Stankiewiczes have their priorities screwed on straight. 

Roman grew up in a house one city block behind ours and to get there, we'd cross our back yard,  across the alley and then trespass though we never called it that, through Quinns' yard. 

I don't think I ever went to Rome's house via any other route. (Yeah, we often called him Rome.)

Me, Trevor, Roman & Mike
But here's why I think I believe everything Roman ever told me. 

Roman's older brother is named Peter. Peter was in my brother Ed's grade at St. Albert's school. 

Roman's other brother is Ed. 

Roman's oldest sister's name is Pat. My oldest brother's name is Pat. 

I don't think Roman's big sister Mary ever met my big sister Mary but they were not only "sister" sisters they are two of the smartest, most generous and funniest people I know. 

Roman's older sister Theresa was in my brother Alex's grade, and my brother Alex's wife is named Brenda and Roman's sister in law is also Brenda but not the same one.

See where I'm going here? When you're linked like this; you're not just locked together you're welded! 

I trusted Roman like one of my own brothers.

Anyway, long story cut way too short: Roman died this past April 4. Leukemia. I'm welling up with tears as I write this; And everybody who knew him loves and misses him.

But this is not an obituary. 

It's a story about how to get your car to last longer. From a very trusted source.