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Talkin' with Sal: The four heroes of my Monday

Talkin' with Sal: The four heroes of my Monday


The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame received notoriety on the football field.

The four granite heads at Mount Rushmore were all presidents.

No group is more important than the four heroes of my Monday.

For almost 19 years, I have been blessed with being a girl and having a guy who tolerates it (sometimes barely). I have refused to do things that I don’t know. I don’t know how to cut the grass and make it look good, even though it’s a five-minute job. I don’t know how to paint without getting it absolutely everywhere. And I don’t know what to do when I have a flat tire.

My Monday commute ended bumpily and abruptly when my warning flashed, “Low Tire Pressure.” Yep, low as in zero, it turns out. Who knew?

So after I drove the length of the city on the interstate, I crawled onto the exit ramp at Hat Six Road. I called the friend, 25 miles away and not yet home from a hot, tiring round of golf.

When it was determined that a) I don’t have roadside assistance and b) my tire place of choice doesn’t have a service truck, the friend was en route. Meanwhile, I marveled at the amount of traffic on that little strip of exit ramp. There were ginormous motor homes, which made me terribly envious, 18-wheelers and lots and lots of work trucks whizzing past.

One semi pulled over ahead of me, reversed for about 100 yards, and then left.

Upon the friend’s arrival, it was determined that regardless of what the owner’s manual says, there was no little doughnut tire, no patch and slime kit, nothing to reasonably be able to limp up the road.

So the second call was to the super son, who borrowed the giant jack from work, hopped in his truck and came to our rescue. In the meantime, Deputy Flake from the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office stopped by on his way to another service call to check on us. He was unbelievably nice, and I told him that he didn’t get to change a tire for me, because there was no tire.

The last time I had a flat tire alone, exactly 20 years ago, the Daughter and I were flying through 105-degree North Platte, Nebraska, and I called 911 because I didn’t know what to do. That time, a Nebraska state trooper changed my tire, gave the daughter her own badge and got us on our way.

After a brief consultation, super son followed us closely to the Hat Six Travel Plaza parking lot, which was a far less precarious place to remove the damaged tire and wheel.

That done quickly, we took the tire to our tire place of choice, where another tire was ordered.

And 36 hours later, the fourth hero of the story, Val Palato, world’s best tire guy, fixed us up. The last time he went above and beyond for me, I baked him a cake. When I delivered it, he was completely shocked. This time, I decided I’d just tell the world of his awesomeness. The friend put the tire on and the saga came to a happy conclusion.

It’s important to have people in your corner, especially when you don’t know stuff.

I am super grateful for these four — the friend, the son, the deputy and the awesome tire dude.

Follow Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @wyosas


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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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