I traveled downtown to 116 East 10th street, Baxter Springs, where I met Frank Delano Hembree, of Frank's Transmission, 620-856-2583. Frank has over 40 years of transmission repair and rebuild experience. His middle name came from his father named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, now that's a middle name! Delano according to the urban dictionary means deep thinker and artistic in part. That fits our 32 second President, elected four times and Frank Delano Hembree who is at the zenith of his trade skills as a Certified Master Service Technician with mutable years of training and schooling with over four decades of under the truck and car experience.
Before his present location where he has been for 12 years next door to the Kansas Route 66 Visitor's Center, where you can often see Dean crazy legs Walker in the summertime, Frank's business was in a two car garage behind his house. His transmission shop has been rated number one by many in the 4-state area. Right as you walk in the door you sense that small town your welcome here feeling as if you were in Mayberry, North Carolina, with Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee and Opie via The Andy Griffith Show.
On the office wall is a real life photo of Deputy Barney Fife and Frank Hembree taken about 15 years ago at a Joplin Book Barn event. Frank and I talked shop a bit when I began to notice this wasn't a typical mechanic shop, it's also doubles as a art gallery. Frank makes and sells primitive knifes through the process of flint-knapping. He has deer antler knife handles, arrow heads, tips for arrows and more.
Frank and his beloved wife Karen have eight children, four daughters and four sons. Two of the daughters sell art, he told me with a broad smile. Frank and Karen have also been blessed with 14 grandkids.
He showed me a chair in the shop surrounded by shavings where he whittles and carves away in between transmissions. Self taught Frank is easy going and would fit right in Mayberry USA, a television show he and I both enjoy. I got to thinking, installing a transmission can be a knuckle-busting job. It ain't like a oil change where you pull in and 15 minutes and a coffee dipped donut later you pull away.
With eight children, 14 grandkids and a transmission shop you need some self therapy downtime to calm oneself. Transmission work ain't like hanging out the window at McDonalds or bagging groceries at Marvins, not that either's not honorable work. Carving or whittling takes time and patience, flint-knapping is the professional and proper word, remember i was reared in Kentucky. No rushing in like the house is on fire with transmission work, same with raising kids. Mechanics, flint-knapping and child rearing is a slow cumbersome process at times.
Full disclosure here, I like Frank. Well spoken, he could be Sheriff, Justice of the Peace or Mayor of Mayberry. As your media representative I just walked up on the shop one day as I was out on foot researching the neighborhood. I'm not receiving a new transmission or free knife nor would I accept them, besides my transmission is under warranty. You the beloved reader need to know your media representative is unbiased and untainted by gifts.
I did receive a free buffet once after rating one tiny towns restaurant's lunch number one on the planet. The free meal was not in advance, but as I was paying up the chef recognized me though I was wearing sunglasses in a attempt to remain undercover which is my modus operandi. Often folk have been interviewed by me and didn't know it until the ink was dry, enough of me talk.
Other Frank fast facts, currently Frank and Karen are members of College Heights Christian Church, Joplin. They attended First Assembly of God Baxter Springs for 22 years and he was a leader in the Royal Rangers youth program for 28 years. Frank is a very young 61, he has held two exhibitions at the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum.
If you need a transmission repair or replace, go talk to Frank. Want a special handmade gift for a special artful someone, Frank has gifts on exhibit for your shopping pleasure right in your hometown.
The word Frank means open and honest and if I can speak frankly, Frank has lived up to the name his dear parents bestowed him with. Frank for President! has a nice ring to it. He is humble and camera shy, everything your media representative is not.
I have really enjoyed our visit this week and appreciate you the valued reader so very much. Sharing is caring. Warm regards, enjoy the winter season and check out my seasonal poem, Search: Duane Lyon winter sleep poem, on youtube.com.