This piece is intended as a compliment to all the people and the cars named in it. And if what follows is not entirely true it is because my memory is at fault, not because I seek to change facts.

I first met Kay Pincock, who founded the still venerable consulting company Pincock Allen & Holt, when he picked me up to take me to a restaurant on the east side of Tucson. The car was a pale green Chrysler New Yorker - big, long, and luxurious with fine leather seats. I had never been in so long and so luxurious a car. Just arrived in America from South Africa, I was used to the original Mini and Beetle.

In the passenger seat was his wife whose name I cannot now recall. She was gracious and friendly and soon had us at ease.

I was in Tucson because Kay Pincock and Andy Robertson had formed a small off-shoot specialty company fittingly called Robertson-Pincock to provide consulting services to the mining industry in tailings and mine waste. John Welsh was the manager and he took me in hand to get me to do what I was paid to do: design a tailings impoundment for the proposed Amax molybdenum Mt. Tolman mine in the territory of the Colville Confederated Tribes. He drove a really big truck.

For a year I flew between Tucson and Spokane and drove a succession of rental cars up past the Coulee Dam to the mine. I even totally wrecked an ugly green car leaving the Spokane airport. The car took it into its head to go down the icy road perpendicular to the proper direction of the road; and then the sliding car encounter another car coming down the other way also perpendicular to the line of the road. My car landed in one ditch; the other car landed in the other ditch; and me and the other driver walked back to the airport to tell Hertz they had two wrecked cars up the road. They were understanding, so the other driver and I went off for a drink and exchanged business cards.

During my time in Tucson I was honored to dine many times with Kay Pincock and his wife. They soon enough informed me that she was a practicing Mormon, but he was a Jack-Mormon. I knew little enough about either but soon came to like and respect both; particularly when Kay had a drink or smoked a cigarette.

But even then he was winding down and he sold his shares to a gentleman called Harry Winters. I only glanced him as he moved rapidly from air-conditioned office to his pink Cadillac, another amazing car. He was reputed to a financial wizard. I discovered how good when he shut down Robertson-Pincock and with my Canadian immigration status still up in the air I found myself without job and without the old blue Chevy Monte Carlo that the now-no-longer company had provided me.

The announcement that I was jobless and technically an illegal immigrant (my visa accrued to my status as an employee of a non-existent company) was made one cool evening just as Geoff Blight and I returned from a run down the dusty roads of Tucson’s south-west side. Geoff was in town from Johannesburg to advise on some obscure aspect of the tailings impoundment design. He too was technically laid off, so he soon returned shaking his head in amazement to Wits and full employment.

Not having a car the Saturday after my termination, I tried the bus to get my two young kids to the center of town and their judo lesson. I knew not the ways of Tucson buses. A very large fellow hollered at me to insert the correct change which of course I did not have. He hollered some more but relented as the kids began to cry. Keep in mind we were from South Africa and when a large black man shouted, they melted.

Not wanting to face the bus and that fat fellow on the way home I walked down the street from their lesson into the first car dealer I encountered. Today the car is famous; then I knew nothing of it. It was brand new and in Tucson the salesmen told me they were not selling well. Afterall who would want a small red Toyota Corolla in 1979? He was quite apologetic. I did not need to feign ignorance. I wanted a car and I still had a company credit card good for a $5,000 deposit. He swiped the card, promised to find financing the following week, and gave me the keys to the car.

How he found financing for an illegal immigrant about to legally immigrate to Canada, I do not know. But it came and we drove that car comfortably to Vancouver. Many years and more than 100K miles later that car died on my son in Albuquerque. He has replaced that car subsequently and sequentially with a Chevy Truck, a Ford Explorer, a Mitsubishi Spider, and a Dodge Durango. I replaced it with a string of Hondas. I do not know why we never got another Toyota.

Kay passed away in 1996; Andy still has his twenty-three year old sports car and a new Lexus; Geoff Blight is retired but still writes famous papers; I have lost touch with John Welsh. But I still owe them all a great debt.