Letter to the Editor: Remembering Mr. Snapbean

Published 5:07 am Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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When I heard that Malcolm Keating (Snapbean) had passed my heart was broken.

Being a customer for many years my first thought was, “Who is going to fuss me every time I need a brake tag?” It was quite an experience to get a tag. The first time I drove up to the station the sign said: – Stop here – Leave windows up – Turn off the engine – Do not leave your auto – Have your papers and license ready. Mr. Snap came to my car. I had every window down. He said, “Can’t you read that sign? You are over the line.”  I said, “Okay.”  I did get my brake tag.

Every year for 35 years, I made the trip to the Texaco Station, only to be asked, “Can’t you read?” Hoping there wouldn’t be another rule that I hadn’t followed, and afraid to exit the car, I would wait for that tap on the window – to exit. It was a yearly ritual. Snap would say, “See that woman in that car? She won’t get a brake tag with that car,” and with that he would tell me,“Stop talking.”

After 35 years, I did get him to smile once. I had a replacement part for the antique heater in his station. I went home to get the part for the heater. Snap smiled and said, “Thank you.” I replied, “You’re welcome, Snap.”

Malcolm “Snapbean” Keating

Just about two years ago his wife, Gloria, was in the hospital when it was brake tag time again. I asked about the family. He replied that his wife was in the hospital. While writing my tag, I saw some tears in his eyes. Mr. Snap showed me his soft side that day. Family was everything to him.

I will miss Snapbean telling me, “Can’t you read? You are over the line.” Rest in Peace, my friend.

Kat Powell Cotham