About half of the 43,000 miles on my 2000 Jeep Wrangler have been off-road, bouncing over rocks, logs and ruts or blasting through creeks and mudholes. Such pounding takes its toll on various components, including the driver’s seat which had multiple tears in the fabric.

Andrew, the service manager at Turman-Yeatts Jeep, recommended local auto upholsterer Phillip Reed, who came by the studio last week, examined the battered seat and said “yeah, I can fix that.” He also recommended repadding the seat. Total cost? “Is $45 too much?” Nah, I said. I can handle that. The last time I had a seat reupholstered in Northern Virginia it cost nearly $200.

Phillip said he would pick up the car on Wednesday and have it back by Friday. On Wednesday, he came by first thing in the morning. I told him the keys were in the car and went back to work. A few hours later, I ventured outside to find the Jeep still in the parking lot — minus a driver’s seat. He took the seat and left the car. For the next two days, the Jeep became a mini-tourist attraction. People would walk by, look in the window, and ask: “How do you drive this without a seat?”

On Thursday and Friday, I drove Amy’s Wrangler — the one she seldom drives — and wondered why two people need three Jeeps.

On Friday, I stopped at Cafe del Sol to meet David St. Lawrence and didn’t get to the studio until after 10 a.m. Phillip had come and gone, leaving a newly upholstered and repadded driver’s seat — one far more comfortable than one he had taken just three days earlier.

Phillip didn’t leave a bill. Hopefully, he will drop by today so I can pay him. Then I’ll file this story away for future use when people ask why we like life here in the mountains.