Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Passing of the Torch

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There, could be found the outdated, outmoded and discarded mechanical devices of ranch life.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 past their 'best-before' date.
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, let us not mention those.
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. “So I'm fixing it.”
Now remember, this boy had just turned four.
The two of them saw that a wire had become disconnected.
They reconnected.
No response.
“It has a micro-chip,” he said suddenly, pointing. “See? It's fit in right there. 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 truly passed.
The newest generation . . .
Photo Credit

12 comments:

  1. Every family needs a fixer...or two...or three.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'm raising a couple more. I can rent them out . . .

      Delete
  2. I love that picture of your grandson, and this story!

    I lack both interest and aptitude for fixing mechanical things, but show me something that needs duct tape and I'm right on it. Hah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A duct tape woman. I never knew that about you! I'm sure we must be kindred spirits. Remind me to tell you about me and adhesive tape . . .

      Delete
    2. And on that note, I once heard packing tape described as "women's duct tape". Personally I use them both. And now I need to know what I've been missing out on regarding adhesive tape. Consider yourself reminded :)

      Delete
  3. When my son fixed his jammed VHS tape of Winnie the Pooh when he was five (without help) I knew for sure he would be a fixer. Sure enough, he works in a machine shop now that he's an adult. I think he would have taken right to ranch life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And he definitely would have been welcome! :)

      Delete
  4. We definitely all need fixers. That is a torch which needs to be passed. Sadly I would drop it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My brother is a fixer and usually had a part left over, since the object in question was working again, he'd declare that part a spare and stash it away some where. I don't "fix" unless I know what's wrong and how to, usually just new batteries, but I do take things apart for thorough cleaning and then put them back together again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well done! I can get them apart. That's where I run aground . . .

      Delete
  6. I am impressed! Certainly the next generation of the apple not falling far from the tree.

    ReplyDelete

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