Just call me Dipstick.

After four decades of driving various and sundry motor vehicles – in wide-ranging states of repair and disrepair – I finally broke a dipstick. That's a first. And I can break just about anything, too.

As my dad often told me "Rory, you could screw up an anvil." In fact, as a tribute to that statement, the late Jenny Behymer presented a cast iron anvil to me as a gift many years ago. The anvil – a replica blacksmith's anvil – was made in 1920 and has been a desktop fixture since the day I received it.

Now, back to me and my dipstick.

After spending a week at a place referred to as the "redneck riviera" by Kenny Chesney in his song "Flora-Bama," the calendar decided it was time to head north. Stopping for gas near Foley, Alabama, I thought it might be wise to check the oil. I popped the hood, pulled out the hood prop and reached for the oil dipstick. It was stuck. I pulled a little harder. No give. So I twisted and pulled at the same time.

That's when the top end piece of the dipstick came off in my hand. The rest of the stick and small plastic end piece remained in the slot. Now what?

We were headed north on Alabama Route 59 and happened to see a NAPA Auto Parts store with an adjacent hardware store next to the Piggly Wiggly (seriously). A sign read "mechanic on duty." It looked promising.

A very attractive young lady in Daisy Duke's cutoffs asked if she could help me. Well, how exactly does one tell an auto parts professional that he's somehow managed to break his dipstick?

"This is probably an unusual request," I began. "But I need a dipstick for a Chrysler Town and Country."

After the initial laughter subsided, another NAPA store worker told me that dipsticks weren't kept in stock as they aren't a high-demand item. But he'd be happy to order one for me.

No, thanks.

I added half a quart of oil and headed for Interstate 65.

* * *

Speaking of I-65, there's a stretch of four-lane from southern Alabama to almost Nashville, Tenn. that ought to be renamed the Alexander Shunnarah Interstate Highway.

Shunnarah is a personal injury attorney. He has billboards from Gulf Shores to Tennessee along I-65. He has so many billboards that one can assume more than a few motorists have thought of playing the Alexander Shunnarah drinking game where you must take a drink every time you pass one of his signs.

After getting home, I suggested to my dear friend and Hamilton County attorney, aka The Prince of Norwood, that he ought to purchase similar billboards along Ohio Route 562 (the Norwood Lateral).

He didn't see that happening, though.

* * *

Much of the radio noise on our return trip focused on President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. A number of talking heads made references to Trump's "Nixonian" move. However, after checking my memory, maybe they should have labeled Trump's action as "Clintonian."

After all, it was President Bubba Clinton who was the last to fire the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – William Sessions in 1993. But why let the facts get in the way, right?

In case you missed it, Sen. Rob Portman issued the following statement on the Comey firing:

“I want to thank Director Comey for his service to our country. Regardless of his handling of the Clinton email matter during the presidential election last year – for which both parties had questions and concerns – he has always done what he believed was in the best interest of the country. Given the timing and circumstances of the decision, I believe the White House should provide a fuller explanation regarding the president’s rationale. The American people must have faith in a strong, independent FBI. I’m concerned about eroding trust in this premier law enforcement agency. It is important that whoever is nominated to succeed Director Comey is a highly qualified and respected leader who will provide a fresh start for the bureau.”

That's all well and good – and probably a pipe dream.

This is a president who is more paranoid than a free-range turkey in late November. He's even considering canceling the daily White House press briefing because of those intimidating notetakers.

Portman's assertion that "It is important that whoever is nominated to succeed Director Comey is a highly qualified and respected leader" begs the question: What highly qualified and respected leader would want to work with Trump?

* * *

Lastly, a belated thank you to Kathy Bruynis of the OSU Extension for including The Highland County Press in this year's Friends of 4-H honorees. We were very pleased to be included in this recognition, along with Darrell and Jane Tissot and Tom Horst.

For a bit of irony, when Kathy presented the award to HCP Vice President Angela Matticks, I learned that her dad, Mel Nicholas of Wilmington, received the same honor from the Clinton County Extension.

Thanks again, Kathy.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.