Friday, March 30, 2007

The old lug wheel

I learned to drive on this Case lug-wheel tractor, which we sold when I was about 8 or 9. Staying between the lines when you’re coloring is nothing compared to driving a straight row when you’re plowing. Consequently, I didn’t get to plow, but I got to pull the disk and the harrow where being “straight” is not so important.

I loved mechanical things. One day I took apart an old clock on a table in our backyard; but when I put it back together, it still didn’t run. However, at the slightest movement, it would begin dinging and wouldn’t quit until it ran down. I stood in awe of this machine that would keep doing the same thing over and over without ever moving its hands. For my Mom(whose birthday is tomorrow, God rest her soul), this miracle of mechanical endeavor was a severe detriment to her cooking, and she would come out on the back porch and tell me exactly what would happen to me if I didn’t stop that infernal noise. Punishment with a peach limb on my legs was only one of the things she dreamed up that summer as I fixed more and more broken mechanical items that landed on that wonderful junk table in the back yard.

The table also held innumerable bottles and bowls, discarded use in the house but enjoyed by the birds after a rain. A brown wren (are they all brown?) lived in one my creations and thoroughly enjoyed the white bowl that was chipped on the side. But, the cologne and perfume bottles were my favorites. I could sneak the cake coloring from the shelf over the stove and create all kinds of potions for healing. The nearest I ever got to an explosion was adding baking soda to vinegar. But, my hands and arms proclaimed me a "multi-colored lady" long before I knew any meaning for rainbow stripes.

Then we sold the flatbed truck that I was learning to drive backwards and forwards in our driveway. The table went away because its top was the sideboards to the flatbed. All those magnificent mechanical “toys” and bottles were taken to the dump. And, my start as an engineer or chemist was foiled before I was 8.

You’ve probably figured out by now that I wasn’t 8 or 9 years old when this picture was made. When Dad went back in the Navy, we sold our tractor to a farmer down the road. That farmer’s son now owns the dealership, and our old Case is sitting in front of his business. Needless to say I cried over that old tractor when I found out that it had been ours – some 50 years after I’d seen it the last time. I just hope that God will say to me as I said to that lug wheel – “Well done, you good and faithful servant.”


Cynthia said...

Where in Mississippi? My mother's family was from Hattiesburg.

Cynthia said...
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