Today I took a day off and puttered around the place. This means I am busy doing the things I’d really like to do when I’m not at the church. I attempted to fix a tail light on our Trailblazer only to find it needed some new electronic parts. E-bay found the stuff and now I wait for the mailman to deliver.
I patched up our beater car where it had rotted out above the passenger rear wheel well, built a little fire in the fire ring, watched a few out-doorsy woodworking videos and fell asleep on the chair. This is the goal of course for a man my age, at home, alone & off for the day.
When I awoke from my slumber the trees were blowing in the 80 degree breeze & I thought, “This would be a good day to work on the Cub”. So off I went to the shed to open the doors exposing the little red artifact built sometime around the late 40’s.
Little Farmall tractors have a great personality that takes us back to simpler times. Times when men woke before daybreak and worked the field until sundown. Times when the sunrise meant a hearty breakfast served by a lovely wife who would later massage your tired shoulders with liniment. Times when the smell of the soil and the mid-day sun combined to invigorate the soul of the farmer. Times when equipment like this little tractor were purchased by the well-deserved dollars earned by men with hands the likes of shoe leather. Yes, those were the days I remember as a lad standing by and watching the greatest generation paint the emotional canvas of my life with a backdrop of chugging engines, pipe smoke and conversations about hunts that would make Fred Bear jealous.
Of course my memory is selective & jaded.
I keep going back there. Boy do I miss those guys. None of them cared if I came along to the garage or the workshop. My uncle would pick me up in his 55 F100 on his way home from the coal hole he worked in the mountain. He’d save half a sandwich for me and I’d chomp it down thinking I was eating a coal miner’s lunch, just like him. He’d take me to his basement and we’d make something at the workbench: anything, as long as it was there at his place with him, that’s all that mattered.
I had no idea how fortunate I was. My Dad would take me with him to see his old buddies he’d grown up with. They grew up together, went to school together, lied about their age and went to war together, and if they made it back alive they were friends until the day they died. Some smoked, some chewed, some used words Dad told me never to say, but I knew if ever I needed anything any of these men would be there to protect me, show me how, or take me along to wherever they were going.
Friends are hard to keep nowadays. If they find out you voted the wrong way you’re an enemy. If you commented honestly on their Facebook page they unfriend you. If you have opinions about social issues that differ from them, you’re a hater, or a liberal, or some intolerant creature from the Black Lagoon. Very few of them have Farmall Cubs & I believe that is the problem. Everyone should have a piece of the past that takes them to a place that no longer exists, but reminds them of a better time. How blessed I am!
Just so you know, I can’t get it started, so I came inside and blogged. My Dad didn’t have choices like this. If it didn’t start, he’d have to find a way to either get it going or do the job some other way. His day off was Sunday which was reserved only for worship and family. He could not quit, go inside & blog. He didn’t have 100 television channels. His tools were not a collection on display, but well-used instruments that always “made it work”.
He’s gone. Uncle Rich is gone. Pap-pap died long ago. All Dad’s buddies, one by one left their medals, guns, and tools to next of kin. You can find them at the flea market in a box, or at best in an antique shop or museum. But by golly, I got the little farmall and some memories that keep them alive. I’m not letting them go; sometimes their the best friends I have.