Clear blue sky, cool morning air; a picture perfect paradise early Saturday morning in the Palm Springs Valley. Needed a stamp for my sister’s birthday card so I jumped in my Acura TSX and headed up the street to The River. Grabbed a Starbucks – Iced Cafe Americano – then drove to the far side of the complex to the Gerald R. Ford Post Office – named after one of our most illustrious residents. Fiddled with the stamp dispensing machine and left feeling pretty smug that I got it to work. Yea, well it’s a generational thing.

Thinking: Reba would appreciate a Starbucks too. If I hustled I could deliver it bedside and score some points. Love those points! Speeding across the parking lot to my car I noticed only one other vehicle parked directly behind me – an older Volvo. No one visible in the car. Fastened my safety belt, looked left and right, released the brake, looked into the rearview mirror and BAM! The Volvo smacked my right rear bumper. Needless to say Reba never got her coffee. Instead I attended to rattled and very tiny older lady who kept crying “Where did you come from!”

Slow burn. Blue skies gone I headed straight to Duncan Emmons Auto Body & Mufflers, one of Rancho Mirage’s first businesses. The shop was founded in 1955 by vintage race car driver, auto detailer and all around great guy, Duncan Emmons. In those days only about 400 pioneers had homes in what was then known as The Eleven Mile Ranch – 11 miles to Downtown Palm Springs and 11 miles to the La Quinta Resort. It was a fun-loving raw desert tumble weed existence and you had to be kind of unique to fit in. Duncan was known and loved by all as the dusty settlement transformed into THE hot get-away destination for Hollywood. He befriended and worked on the sedans of Elizabeth Taylor, Red Skelton and many other celebrities whose ritzy town cars were punished by the wash board roads of the California Desert. Darah, his wife of 36 years, and Duncan raised four sons in the Palm Springs Valley. These days Duncan is racing in heaven. The shop is now run by the fabulous Darah and a son, Scott.

Remember what it’s like to be taken care of – really taken care of. Service is so rare these days that it’s like mothers milk when delivered. Darah had me on the phone with AAA in minutes. My car was inspected and the estimate written up before I got off the phone. A new bumper was located and ordered. AAA promised to send an inspector on Tuesday to approve the job and Darah’s estimate. Darah suggested that I leave my car and take her loaner car so that I didn’t have to bother coming back until my car was restored to glory. OK. I got into and drove away in Darah’s Jaguar. In Rancho Mirage there are always blue skies!

Rex