Living in The Country: Meet me Behind the Shop
I’m considering getting the old man a medic alert device. When he is out of my sight, there is no telling what he will get himself into.
Today is a perfect example. Beautiful day. Warmest temperatures and bluest skies we’ve had this year.
I’m in the kitchen peeling potatoes.
He is tooling around on his tractor in the back yard where I can keep an eye on him from the kitchen window. All is calm and bright. He is spreading soil with the tractor, driving back and forth from a pile behind the shop and then into the back yard, where I can see him again, dropping the soil from the bucket, moving with the grace of a swan. Nice, normal stuff. Sigh.
Then my little Evil Knievel and his green machine disappear behind the shop and are AWOL…for a while. I can’t hear the tractor anymore. That is usually a bad sign. I visualize him ever so slowly trying to drive that machine off the end of the earth, otherwise known as the giant wooded ravine at the edge of our “maintained property.” He is creeping along, barely moving, sure this time he will make it without incident. He never learns.
That is where he always gets stuck.
I’m still standing at the kitchen window straining my ears for any sound of him, when he comes stalking up the driveway. He gets in the car. I step away from the window because I don’t want him to see me spying on him…and I don’t really want him to know that I’m not tremendously busy at the moment or I can’t act put out when he asks for help.
I hear him backing the car out, pulling the truck forward to the shop, throwing heavy trucking chains in the bed and driving out behind the shop.
None of this is mysterious behavior. I’ve witnessed it before, more than I care to consider. I can foresee my future:
In ten minutes I will be in the truck stealthily maneuvering the gas peddle and the brake with two feet as I attempt to back the truck up without getting stuck in the spring earth.
There will be several lengths of chain, hastily cobbled together, running from the hooks on the front of the truck down to the backhoe arm of the tractor, which looks like it’s reaching out for someone to deliver it from the clutches of the mad man who relentlessly pushed it past it’s humble limits until it was hopelessly mired.
Save me! the pouf pouf of the engine seems to whisper.
I will try my best…to pull the tractor out of the woods, where the old man was apparently attempting to roll a whale sized stump down the ravine and got stuck. I mean, really, how could he know? Right?
He will have to be on the tractor as I do this, to control the throttle and stuff, regardless of how precariously unbalanced it has settled, sitting on the precipice of doom such as it is.
I will be praying, sweating and perhaps swearing like a soldier as I sit in the truck trying to read his hand signals and hoping the tractor doesn’t tip over on top of him and make me a widow before we get the yard work done.
And that is pretty much exactly what happened. After he disappeared with trucks and chains and that determined expression he wears at such times, I couldn’t stand the suspense very long and walked back there to see what he was up to.
“Oh, you’re just the person I want to see”, he says…ever so casually.
I Don’t Say A Word.
It’s over within fifteen minutes.
I walk back to the house to cook the potatoes.
I consider the medic alert. What if I’m not here someday and he’s on his tractor and he just can’t resist the hypnotic call of the evil sirens who live down in the ravine, and the tractor really does tip over on him?
At least he could press the button and call them.
I can hear it now:
Yes Mr. Elliott, this is medic alert. Are you having a medical emergency?
No, no, not really. I was just lying here under my tractor and wondered if you could possibly call my wife on her cell phone?
…pouf-pouf-pouf whispers the tractor.
We can do that…are you sure you don’t need any professional help Mr. Elliott?
No, don’t be silly. Just tell my wife to get the truck, the chains, and a couple of BF band aids, and meet me out behind the shop…
Happy Spring Everyone!
© 2018 by Ilona Elliott