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Life lesson learned at Moodys Tire

Coming of age in Brentwood in the 1980s, I had ringside seats to a lot of change to the area. I remember vividly when the area that is now CoolSprings Galleria was an unremarkable swath of farmland upon which sat the corporate headquarters for Southwestern/Great American companies. A quarter mile crow's flight to the east was a concrete loading platform along the train tracks that slice through Williamson County. It was there that my father taught me to shoot a shotgun. This, of course, was only after I passed the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency hunter's education course a half block off the town square in Franklin. One need only glance to either side of I-65 at the Brentwood/Franklin border to see that the Southwestern/Great American office space and the lonely blue water tower that bore the company's logo is long gone, replaced by a retail mecca that's surrounded by Class A office space, hotel chains and enough restaurants to make one wonder whether the newer homes are being built without kitchens.

This was the backdrop to my happy adolescence. And a few miles south was the setting for one of life's first lessons that, unbeknownst to him, was taught by Ed Moody.

Having earned my driver's license only a few weeks before, my mother's car needed new tires. Part of the bargain for me to share use of her car – a sleek, black Datsun 280zx with dark red pinstripes, amber dash lights, and an auto-reverse cassette stereo that pumped some serious dBs – was that I would assume responsibility for its maintenance. After a startlingly harrowing awakening to the baldness of its tires on a rain-soaked Holly Tree Gap, I began my research. This, of course, was long before Google could assist with price comparisons. I consulted advertisements in the Nashville Banner and The Tennessean, Consumer Reports, and my best friend at Brentwood High, who had recently saved a pretty penny on four off-brand tires for his Ford LTD at the Half Price Fair. But, WKDF, the media sponsor (which was then a rock station) would not bring another such extravaganza of savings to Nashville for at least another six months.

After watching me track prices across the region like a Wall Street wannabe with a glass-cased stock ticker machine – this was after all, hard-earned dollars from my job as a fry cook at Captain Ds – my dad intervened.

“Son, because of your hard work, you know who is selling which tire at what price across the midstate area, and I'm proud of that,” he said. “But there's no substitute for relationships with local business owners. Go see Ed Moody in Franklin. He'll take care of you.”

Mr. Moody was behind the counter when I arrived. He listened as I described how precious each of my dollars were to me, and that I didn't want to part with any of them that I didn't absolutely have to. After considering the prices, I decided that four retreads would suit my needs just fine – especially my wallet.

“Is that your car out there?”

“Yessir.”

“That's a pretty nice car. If it were me, I wouldn't go with retreads.”

My suspicion-meter shot through the roof. Here we go, I thought. Mr. Moody is putting the screws to me. After all, the tires he recommended were going to cost $75 more! At $3.35 per hour, that's a lot of fish and hushpuppies!

I left with the same tires car as I arrived with, only to return an hour later.

“My dad said that I can trust you, Mr. Moody. What do you recommend?”

He smiled and told me. And when I looked into my wallet there was an extra $100 bill that my dad had slipped in there without mom's knowledge, or mine for that matter, to cover the difference.

I'm grateful for that encounter. And I am sorry to learn of Mr. Moody’s passing. But his passing also reminds me to be kind and patient, just as he was. And I will wager a Brentwood Bruins t-shirt that there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of similar stories told and retold this past weekend during Mr. Moody's visitations and funeral.

May God bless Mr. Ed Moody. And, of course, those who loved him. He will be missed for many years to come.

Posted on: 1/30/2013

 
 

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