It is the sound no one wants to hear. I was downtown, just off Michigan Avenue and was picking up something from a friend. As she sat in my car, I ran my hazards, hoping that being late in the afternoon on the Friday before New Year’s Day the traffic cops wouldn’t be as tough on the prowl. Plus it was raining and we know how those folks can disappear in bad weather.

I turned my ignition and the lights dimmed but the car didn’t start. The battery that the mechanic had told me two months ago wouldn’t make it through the winter didn’t have enough power to start my engine.

In the everyday world, finding someone with cables to give you a jump can be next to impossible. Being downtown was even worse. Just when I was at the point of absolute despair, I looked across the street and saw a sight that put a smile on my face. A car with its hood raised and another car facing it with its hood raised too. I quickly jogged over and asked if I could get a jump and the man agreed. My car started and I knew that it was time to dig in the piggy bank and find the money needed to buy a battery.

I drove home, got the money and headed to Sam’s Club. I pay good money to be a member there year-after-year so taking advantage of that membership always is what I try to do. I got there just before the Tire and Battery Section closed for the night and ran to the counter. The clerked looked up the type of battery I needed and when he went to check my current battery, he began to shake his head. We don’t carry your type of battery he explained.

I looked at the clock; it was now after 7 p.m. I could try Costco or even Sears. But running around trying to find a battery late at night would mean a lot of wasted gas if they couldn’t install it right away. My solution? Call up the local pizzeria, order a pizza to go and put off getting a battery until the next day. The screen on my phone has worn out, so I have to find the numbers I need from memory and can do it real well 90 percent of the time. But that night was one of the times I failed and ended up calling my buddy Garfield Major.

When he asked where I was and what I was doing, he quickly offered me a solution that I want everyone else to have. He told me, “Call Raybon. They sell batteries, repair cars and everything else.” He put me on hold and placed the call. When Mr. Raybon came on the phone he not only had my battery but the price was in the range I expected. “Come on over and we’ll put it in right away,” he said. And I did.

As I pulled into the shop, located just off Roosevelt and Kostner, I saw the sign on the garage door that said they were open 24 hours. They do body work, automotive repairs and towing. The mechanic got started on my car right away and just over 20 minutes later, I was on my way, knowing I have a battery that will probably last me another five years.

If we are to survive, the black community must remember to support our black businesses that do right. I had heard of Raybon but have to admit it wasn’t in the forefront of my mind when I needed a battery. But since I do have thousands of friends who read this column and respect what I write, I want everyone to know about a business that we all should be supporting.

We all have cars that need repairing and maintenance. So put Raybon Automotive into your cell phone 773-638-5257 and call them the next time you need work, a battery or your car’s body repaired.

Also with winter here in full bloom, don’t forget to carry cables. Most folks won’t mind giving you a jump but the number of folks who don’t have cables is astonishing.

Last but not least, on Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Divine Tree of Light Church, 3837 W. Harrison St. from 3 p.m. on, we will be hosting a fundraiser for Garfield Major to keep him on the air. His radio show, which airs every Sunday from 10 p.m. until midnight is always the major source of information for what is going on on the West Side.

Any amount you can donate will be appreciated, but even more than that, get folks to come out and give Garfield his flowers while he can still smell them. If you need any information regarding that event, you can call 773-638-8462.