Monday, May 7, 2012

Did Melvin Dummar fix my tire?

You may remember the name, Melvin Dummar. He was the guy who, in the 1970’s, allegedly found billionaire Howard Hughes wandering in the desert and gave him a ride back to the Sands Hotel. It was the starting point of the “Mormon Will“ court case. Even though all the money, $156million, was to go to the church and Mr. Dummar would get nothing, his name was dragged through the mud in the press.

My own little story begins last Saturday night. I was talking with a nice young lady, which is a story in itself, but in the course of our conversation she mentioned that she had spent part of her childhood in Gabbs, Nevada. She was somewhat surprised that I knew of the place. I not only knew of it, but even more unlikely, I have a very fond memory of it.

Sometime in the late 1990’s, I don’t remember exactly when, I drove out to the Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park to do some sightseeing. On the way back I got a flat tire. As I was fixing it, I noticed that another tire was getting pretty low. Only having the one spare, I limped into Gabbs to see what I could do about it.

There is only one gas station in Gabbs. The man at the gas station was fairly old, with gray hair, and a bit taller than me. He plugged my bad tire, only charged me a minimal amount of money, and I was able to get back to Reno without incident.

As it turns out, that gas station is owned by Melvin Dummar’s brother, Ray. Melvin sometimes works there.

melvin dummar
Photo from Melvin Dummar's Facebook page.

As near as I can remember, this wasn't the guy who fixed my tire. It could have been, but given family resemblances, it could have been Ray Dummar. Or maybe it was just some guy filling in on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t be sure.

Anyway, knowing what I know of the guy at the gas station, pulling my bacon out of the fire and not taking advantage of a stranger in need, I’m inclined to believe Melvin Dummar’s story. Of course, that does nothing to prove the validity of the Howard Hughes Will, but Mr. Dummar’s part in it seems reasonable. People in Gabbs are like that.