Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Can Fix That!


Foreground: Ranch. Background: Machinery Hill

On the Stringam Ranch, there was a hill.
A large hill.
It had old machinery parked on top.
We called it the 'Old Machinery Hill'.
Okay, so creative, we weren't.
There could be found the outdated, outmoded and discarded mechanical devices of ranch life.
Mowers, haybines, cultivators, tractors, cars and trucks.
All neatly parked in rows.
My brothers spent many blissful hours on that hill, deconstructing the various machines (and machine engines) to be found.
Excitedly, they would point out to me the valves and sprockets pulled from this amazing machine and 'Wow! Aren't they fantastic?!' Then proceed to explain just how these intricate little marvels fit into the whole 'making-this-machine-bale-hay' scenario.
To which I would nod and smile.
Then run off to see what the horses were doing.
But that was just the beginning of my brothers' mechanical adventures.
Throughout their lives, I can picture them with various machine parts spread out neatly as they re-constructed and fine-tuned.
Something that still goes on today.
I should probably mention that the 'mechanical bug' hit me as well.
Later.
I took apart, fixed and re-assembled in my world, too.
Mom's piano-organ. Her toaster. Iron.
The only thing that defeated me were the clippers.
Oh, and the washing machine and I have a history, too.
But we won't mention those.
Please.
Moving ahead . . .
Our four-year-old grandson was playing quietly in their basement.
A little too quietly.
Usually this heralded trouble.
His mother went to check.
She found him with one of his sister's musical toys disassembled in front of him.
Part of it had stopped working.
The need for new batteries had been ruled out because the other parts were still working.
He had rummaged through his father's tools and found the screwdriver he needed.
Then proceeded to take the toy apart.
This was when his mother came in.
He looked up at her.
“It wasn't working,” he said calmly.
Something he had pointed out to her on numerous occasions.
“So I'm fixing it.”
Now remember, this boy just turned four in April.
The two of them saw that a wire had become disconnected.
They reconnected.
No response.
“It has a micro-chip,” he said suddenly, pointing. “Maybe it just needs a new micro-chip.”
His mother stared at him. “You're probably right,” she said, finally.
When she told us the story, I was reminded suddenly of my brothers.
With their tools.
And their sprockets and wheels.
The torch is passed.
The newest generation . . .
Photo Credit


10 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting that. It's gratifying that generations down the line are developing that sense of what makes it tick, and fixing it. Interesting that my grandkids, while not blessed with the fixing bug, know where to get it fixed. Case in point: Bridgit and Brynn (5&4) were playing with Grandma's plastic penguin (18" tall). One of them dropped it and it broke. The response from Bridgit: "Papa will fix it."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Still relying on that generation who used to take things apart up on the Old Machinery Hill! Soooo cute!

      Delete
  2. It amazes me what my son can come up with too! He is so much more mechanical then I am, and it definitely comes from his Grandpas. I love how traits like that carry through generations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I love to see the most. Traits that carry on through families. "Oh, Grampa used to do that. Oh, Great-grampa used to do that. It's so . . . heart-warming!

      Delete
  3. My brother (as mechanical as your brothers) came home to find his three year old sitting in the stairwell, reassembling the latch/doorknob assembly of the side door. They do come by it honestly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely amazing! They must just absorb it!

      Delete
  4. WOW, he is talented... all being 4 years old, amazing:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's doing things that I didn't figure out until I was 14! That's says something. About him. Or about me . . .

      Delete

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