|Or something similar...|
I can only write this story because the Statute of Limitations has expired.
Growing up on the ranch provided many opportunities to drive the tractor around the field. And around and around and around and around and . . .
You get the picture.
This can be very boring.
However, if one is on the right tractor . . .
One hot day, I was given the opportunity to drive our big Case.
At the time I was about 16 years old and I liked driving it because it made a very big vroom sound.
I don't remember the horse power. Let’s just say it had lots of ponies in its motor.
I also liked it because it had a comfortable seat that moved up and down as you drove across the bumpy field, air conditioning, and a radio.
Things not found on other tractors on the ranch.
On a nice hot day, the air conditioning was greatly appreciated and I always liked having a radio. It helped relieve the monotony/boredom.
Now here is where the statute of limitations comes in.
I was instructed by Mom to keep the air conditioning at a reasonable level. She told me that if I had the air conditioning at its maximum level, it was unhealthy. I would say “Sure, Mom” then wait for her to leave and turn the air conditioning as cold as I could get it.
The second thing I was told to do was keep the radio at a moderate level. Then I could hear mechanical noises in a timely manner and shut down and repair equipment. If one didn’t detect these things early there was the potential of having a catastrophic failure. In other words fix/replace a small part or fix/replace lots of parts. Again my reply was “Sure, Dad” then wait for Dad to leave the field and turn up the radio.
I was operating the big Case tractor on a beautiful hot summer day.
The birds were singing.
Well I guess they were singing.
Who can hear birds over the roar of the tractor and the ‘moderate’ radio.
The air was fresh and clear.
It was definitely cold in the cab of the tractor.
I was pulling a big cultivator around the field.
Then it happened.
The cultivator snagged a rock that was just under the soil surface.
In a few short seconds I was staring in horror at an expensive cultivator rolled into a ball around a rock the size of a cow.
I should mention here that I was not concerned about the cultivator. But about the explanation that I was going to give Dad.
My mind immediately started putting my account of the situation together.
“I was regularly looking at the gages of the tractor and all was fine.”
“I was constantly surveying the soil surface for rocks and other nasty potentially machine-breaking items.”
“Oh, no! The radio was not blasting loudly, I don’t think I could hardly hear it.”
Then a miracle happened.
The big ball of metal, rock, and soil disentangled themselves and the cultivator popped back into its original shape.
The entire episode lasted a few short seconds.
I breathed a sigh of relief and stopped the tractor. I felt that I had better look the cultivator over and make sure everything was in place before I continued my trek around the field.
It was then I learned why Mom told me to keep the air conditioning at a moderate level.
I threw open the tractor cab door and was immediately hit with a blast of hot outside air.
I felt a little dizzy but continued down the ladder to the ground.
As I was moving down, a massive amount of hot air from the very powerful motor hit me. My ears started to ring and my head started to spin. My legs turned to spaghetti and I stumbled to the ground.
Luckily, this moved me away from the hot air spewing from the motor.
My head cleared and I was able to move/stumble away from the tractor.
I looked at the cultivator and determined that it was all right.
I breathed another sigh of relief.
The engineer that designed said cultivator had foreseen my encounter and put in the trip mechanisms to protect it.
I was suddenly grateful for engineers.
Once I had finished with the cultivator, I carefully avoided the blast of hot air as I climbed back on the tractor.
Then I turned down the radio and air conditioning.
And vowed to listen more to Mom and Dad.
Every Sunday, I am featuring stories from little brother Blair, now an Engineering Professor in New Mexico. Who also lived on the ranch with me.
And whose memories are almost as good . . .