September 27, 2016

Nephi Wrecking Yard

Discovering Small Town Utah Door-to-Door

My intention for stopping in Nephi wasn’t originally to write a story, but to relieve my dogs who had been in the car for an hour without a break. They were running around the frontage road when we saw the yard full of vehicles in various stages of decay. I saw a man looking at me like I might be intruding. “Is this wrecking yard still in operation?” I asked. Bud replied, “Are you stupid, or are you stupid?”

nephi Utah

Despite the tough start, he directed me where to park and agreed to an interview. Clarence “Bud” Phillips’ hands are enormous and thick. Despite his 74 years, Bud’s hands look as if they could easily strangle a python. “I could always fight anyone and I know how to hurt people… I joined the military police when I was 19.” Bud served his country in various cities in Germany after the end of World War II as part of keeping the peace while the Marshall Plan was enacted for post- war recovery. Bud came to enjoy German culture and people and one day, “I saw about the prettiest thing I ever saw, and I had to have her.” He married and had his first child in Nuremberg, Germany. Bud decided he didn’t want to fight anymore, so he moved back home. Bud has a rough and tough exterior but he is obviously a very kind man. He doesn’t chit chat, but gets right down to the meaning of life, his political convictions and the essence of his beliefs.

Twelve years ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. Since they removed his football- sized spleen, he has lived as a man on borrowed time. He shared his belief in the LDS Church. Bud’s hard work ethic has resulted in a business that serves his community for heavy machinery, car parts and various mechanic work. He answered customer questions as we spoke. Bud’s entire inventory is well-catalogued in his brain. He promised that if I came back and visited with my wife he would have us converted as Mormons and would even throw in some free vegetables.