13 May 2008

Farmer's daughter

My sister and I grew up in a small town, as mentioned yesterday, with both sets of grandparents within two blocks of us. On our street alone (a whole 3 blocks long) four houses not counting us were direct relations. So, you know, that explains why I liked to hang out in cemeteries for excitement (and privacy). But in many ways our youth was kinda idyllic, and having my own daughter has made me nostalgic even more than usual for my girlhood.

On Sunday, I took some photos of equipment that now belongs to my uncle. Until I was 12, though, it was also my father's, and I spent a lot of time on tractors, in combines, and sliding across the bench seat of a sugarbeet, grain or pick up truck.

I have not been in or on these vehicles for over twenty years, but when I opened the truck door, I was right back at grain harvest alongside my dad, bouncing in the truck across the field all afternoon. That old-truck-cracked-leather-pipe-tobacco-farmer smell lingers, I tell you.

When I was about 8, I devised a plan. I knew we were not wealthy farmers, and I knew that tax season made my dad really, really cranky, and I knew the president made $200,000 a year. So I decided to write to President Reagan, and explain that the newest truck my family had for our farm was already almost 30 years old. One of the trucks was older than my mom. If he could just see fit to pass some laws that would help us, I was sure we could afford a better truck and Dad would be less cranky, and if Mr. Reagan really wanted to, he could just send us a check.

The truck bed on the GMC truck didn't look this bad back then, though it was already showing signs of decay. One of my favorite daydreams was the idea of taking a big long trip in the back of the GMC (because it had a wooden bed, as opposed to the Ford's hot, unforgiving [albeit less sliver-y] metal) with Jeanie and Dixie and Lauri and Shannon and me. I figured we could put the tail gate on, throw in a bunch of blankets and pillows, and let my dad take us all the way to Minneapolis while we ate sandwiches and sang songs and laughed and stuff.

Dad never went for it, and in retrospect, I guess he was right. But man, I wanted that kind of adventure. (Clearly I had not spent much time riding in the back of the grain truck, blankets or no...)
The dash of the Ford. Looking at it now, those two knobs on the bottom look a lot like doorknobs. Hm. I mean, I don't know much about driving a truck, but somehow I doubt those are factory issued parts.
Speaking of which, here's a lovely example of my dad's favorite tool. If our family had a crest, it would certainly involve at least two vice grips: he used them for everything. This is the inside driver's door of the GMC truck. As long as I can remember, it's been missing both the door handle and the window handle, and the practical solution was to just attach a vice grip and leave it there. Twice. He also used vice grips to control the garage door and do some basic dentistry*.

Almost a year ago now, when I was replacing our toilet, (scroll down if you wanna know more about the toilet), I had to ask my sister for advice. The first thing she said was "Where's your vice grip?" Um, I dunno. I don't think I have one. "WHAT?" I mean, here. I found one. Here.

I think she was about to erase my name from the family bible. Whew.

*just kidding about the dentistry. for the most part.

1 comment:

Megan said...

This is completely unrelated to your post, but while I was looking for a new Sesame Street DVD for Avery, I found this set. Notice who is featured in the second disk!