It was just the battery.

I drove the Mullet into Durham yesterday without incident. In fact, I remember saying to myself on the trek in, "This here Mullet is driving pretty well!"

That's never a good thing to say.

After an hour or three at the Federal, I went to rev up the Mullet and head home. Nothing. Well, a wrrrr-wrrrr-wrrrr...then, nothing.

I sat there thinking a bit: battery? Starter? Alternator? Does a 1967 Dodge even have an alternator?

No more than three minutes had passed, before Ben at the bar came up to me, introduced himself, offered some advice, and poked around for a while. He spent a good ten minutes on the truck, diagnosing what could be wrong.

Meanwhile, Sara and 32 offered their mechanic smarts, theirs from a scooter perspective. And minutes later, Keith and Bob were climbing in the truck with tools and engine know-how. One of the many things I lack.

With five people helping out without a sneer or a grumble, I knew we'd resolve the issue. Clearly the goal was to get the damn truck fixed...yet I kind of enjoyed the adventure. The night was mild and clear. A mix of strangers and friends huddled around on old truck and shared possible solutions. We were surrounded by the smooth hub-bub of Main Street, patrons mingling and enjoying the night.

It was, alas, just the battery. Of course, with the Mullet, that means extracting the ten-year-old battery from behind the back seat, lifting it from a heavy-duty metal casing by removing four bolts. Nothing is easy in that thing. But in just over an hour, De Mullet was running. I could have called AAA, but the mood and mode was that friends and strangers could figure this out with me. And we did.

"Things" sometimes become experiences and memories. In my 38 years, those things have included live music. Bacon. My first pint of barleywine. The laying on of hands and the washing of feet. A good game of tennis.

But when I think of the waning hours of 2008, I'll hearken back to last night's combination of old engine and good beer.