The Nation: Time to Retire

That old joke about the man who liked pancakes so much he collected trunkfuls of them wouldn't coax a chuckle from Cecil Heidelberger. For years, neighbors of the chubby junk dealer in rural Andover, Minn., were I amazed, amused or outraged by his g particular passion: worn-out auto tires.

Heidelberger, 60, proprietor of a 40-acre spread called the Musket Ranch and Trading Post, began collecting used tires before World War II. He sold his original hoard for a penny a pound in the wartime rush to find desperately needed rubber supplies. The war ended, but Heidelberger's passion for tires did not. Today,...

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