I got my key. Now I just have to figure out why it doesn't play at 45rpm

For those of you who don’t know me, in addition to politics, I’ve dabbled in many things over the years, including being involved in the auction business in some capacity or another for about a 20 year stretch. Before that, my mom had the local antique shop in Pierre.

One of the things she bought and sold for a time were old jukeboxes and coin-op pinball machines, right about the time I was in Junior High. And yes, it was cool.

We went through many jukeboxes, but the one we kept was an AMI continental with the bubble top. Until my mom traded it for an oak rolltop desk.  Argh. I had the chance to buy it again at auction, but I passed on it, because I was conducting an auction of my own that same day.

So, for many years, I was on the lookout for a jukebox of my own, which I finally found at auction about 5 years ago in Brookings – a 1964 Rock-ola 418sa – one of the last 2 models to have the spinning records visible to the user.

I had money that day, it was cheap, so it was a marriage made in heaven.

Unfortunately, I never made the time to get around to tinkering with it until recently, as you don’t just plug one in. They’re kind of persnickety, and the last thing you want to do is to burn it up because you wanted to see if it works.

5 years, almost to the day it either darkened my garage or my basement. That’s a long time to let something that means something to you sit idle.

I guess the amount of time it sat came to me recently as part of my epiphany that I no longer wished to be apart from my family, and that I should do things that make me happy.  And what could make me happier than a nearly 50 year old jukebox?

Long story short, I made time recently, and ordered a key  and a service manual for my jukebox. I got the key yesterday, And lo and behold…. it opened!  (And it already contained the service manual I paid 25 bucks for, and am still waiting for).

It looks like the previous owner tinkered with it, as I had to reassemble a couple of bolts – but after cleaning it out, it seems to work perfectly, with one exception. It seems to be stuck at 33 1/3 RPM.  I tinkered with it briefly, and it seemed to work for about 30 seconds… but then Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” slowed down again to a plaintive wail. Back to the drawing board.

I suppose that if there’s a point to the story, it would be to take time, and to make time for the little things that give you enjoyment in life.

This weekend, in addition to writing about politics, I’m going to be working on my jukebox. As it should be.

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