Glass fixer has seen weird things

The dumbest thing Kelly Wilson ever saw anyone do to a car windshield was done by someone he misses dearly."He was an employee of mine," says Kelly, the young, soft-spoken owner of Road Sport Auto Glass on Seltice Way in Post Falls.

"His name was Bob," he adds fondly. "We called him good old Bob."

But good old Bob one day didn't want to take the time to warm up the car and dissolve the accumulated frost. So instead he took the edged bottom of his coffee cup and rubbed it around the windshield in vigorous circles to get the frost off.

"That's probably the dumbest thing I've ever seen anybody do," says Kelly, who learned the business at his uncle's knee in Bonners Ferry "That, or use a snow shovel."

Good old Bob called Kelly that morning and asked if he could get the windshield fixed that day.

"It was his wife's new Pontiac Grand Am," Kelly says. "He scratched every inch of that windshield." He chuckles. "Bob was quite a character. He was in his 70s, and he answered the phone, did whatever needed to be done."

Good old Bob died last year.

"Oh, boy, do we miss him," Kelly says softly. "So do my girls. They loved him."

Kelly's got four girls, actually; his wife, Sheri, and daughters Kilee,6; Karee, 3; and Kaydee, four months.

"She's the latest one, the newest one. I mean," he hastens to add, "She's the last one.

"We call them K-1, K-2, and K-3."

While Sheri works at home balancing the bouncing needs of three young ones, Kelly works here where the dust of his desk contrasts with four neatly-aligned golf clubs lined up against the wood-paneled walls, and his primary wall decor is a car's windshield.

But that's also his bread-and-butter. The North Idaho climate and geology keep Kelly Wilson's auto, truck and marine business going pretty nicely.

"It's pretty much a misnomer here of what does the damage," Kelly says, dismissing any thought that logging trucks kick up too much debris. "Any given tire can kick up any given rock. I'm actually quite pro-timber. My dad's a retired logger."

I'm actually pro-timber, too ... in fact we own a gorgeous log cabin near Superior, Mont. (where I was once refused a library card, disreputable lout that I am), and I can sit for hours and listen to stories of the days when the lumber mills here ran 24-hours a day. That must have been something to see.

Kelly misses the old days, too, although he misses more than just the constant raw buzzing of those mills. He misses the days when everybody knew everybody else (even if it was a little "Peyton Place"-ish, he adds) and when you never had to sit through a traffic light.

"I'm a local guy, born in Bonners Ferry," he says. "I've been here now in Post Falls for 14 years." Before the growth boon, he says without wanting to offed anybody, "It was a smaller town then. A little less bustling."

He joined the Navy after high school, lived a while in Spokane and managed a glass shop for a while in Sacramento, Calif.

"I kind of liked it there for a while," he says. "I learned a lot of things there, mostly that I don't like big cities."

His daughters are too young, yet, he says, but his family still goes to the games of family friends here and he likes that he can still do that and see other friends, other neighbors.

"In big cities," he says, "you're just another number."

In Post Falls, along that sometimes slippery stretch of Seltice down the road apiece from Stimson Lumber, Kelly keeps his busines inside and contained.

"We deal with everything in-shop," he says. "We don't do any outside work. We don't want to be one of those fly-by-nighters working out of a van."

600450 Glass fixer has seen weird things
Date: 26 January 2005

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