Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What was that?!

What was that?
(by R.P.Edwards)

“What was that?!”
The fearful phrase
From lady’s lips
Their “man” to craze
For actions… “His”
Must then ensue
To dare the dark
Or turn a screw
And then with labors finally done
With “fix it” fixed
Or battle…won
He sheds his tools
Perchance to nap
Then hears again
What was that?!”

It was a teaching moment; as natural for “Gramps” as donning his blue jean “bibs” or picking a blade of prairie grass to thoughtfully chew before daily watching the sun slowly rise above the eastern part of “God’s fifty acres.”  Yes, this plot was small, as farms go, but he loving worked it with Jenkins, his Andalusia jack mule and today, to his delight, his grandson (adorned as he) Daniel--at the boy’s request!--wanted a lesson in how to plow… “The way Gramps does.”  “Alright my young farmer,” began the elder, “put your hands on the handles and make that sound I taught you.”  The little learner made a double kissing noise and, with a jolt, the strong animal engine caused the blade to dig in…and the furrow to be made.  After twenty yards, however, Josiah (the man’s name, seldom heard) gently pulled the reins and had the lad turn to look at the near past.  “Do you see how we’re off course a bit?”  “Yes, Gramps, I see.” “Well, my boy (both turning now) the way to make straight even rows…is to focus on a distant spot--like that fence post--and aim towards it.” “I’ve got a question for you, Gramps.” (the boy pointed to something much closer) “What does it mean when Jenkins’ tail is lifted up?”  “You’ll see in just a moment, little Dan, you‘ll see.”

The voice of the Buick sounded a little…off; but it was the scraping sound that evoked the dreaded phrase from my wife‘s lips, “What was that?!” An exit and short investigation later and I could see that the tail pipe, aft of the muffler, had disengaged and had plowed a rather straight furrow in our gravel driveway (the inspiration for the tale above.)  Well, I was quickly reminded that the car “had” to be functional for later-in-the-day necessities and, since visiting the muffler shop was not in the budget, “I,” the male, would have to do something.  That “something” involved wire and, as I lay beneath the beast (rain adding to the mix), a few thoughts scooted by.  “I’d get fired for this at work,” was one.  Why?  Because my raising the car’s body by driving up and parking on a rather short piece of four-by-four wouldn’t pass OSHA muster.  “Might make an interesting ‘Safety Update.’” I also remember doing a similar procedure on the Pennsylvania turnpike on a blistering hot day sometime in the early nineties.  It was an old white LTD and the kids were mere tots.  As I recollect, a helpful garage owner had mercy and gave me the wire for the job. And, although I’m sure it was an interesting diversion for the backseat riders; at the end of the day I felt as though I had been beaten (as in “slapped soundly”). 

And so, as my jury-rig is in place and I prepare for the next “do,” I can’t help thinking that our nation is also in the ‘temporary fix’ mode.  Instead of welds…we use wires; instead of bolts…we use Band-Aids; instead of what works…we use…words.  But, I am hopeful, that with enough inconvenience and injury, we’ll finally abandon the quick fixes, and turn to a more permanent solution.

Comments welcome.

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