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KAREN SCHWALLER

By Staff | Jun 10, 2010

Good grief. (Hey! Isn’t that an oxymoron?)

Anyway, moron or not, I need a show of hands here: how many of you have ever experienced issues with your vehicle?

I’m not talking about running out of gas or needing to put in a new water pump or fuel pump – though the cost of those things can pump my husband up plenty.

I’m talking about things that no one would believe if you told them; things that would make them think you were, well, a moron. Put your feet up and let me share a vision with you.

It all started last fall. You see, it’s a responsibility I share with another farm wife to feed a tribe of eight or nine hungry men every other night while they are harvesting. I already have a full time job which takes mucho extra time in the fall as it is, so that means that between a job, a photography sideline that kicks into high gear in the fall, livestock chores, planning and cooking meals for all those guys, and laundry and dishes to keep up with, I should weigh slightly less than a cockroach on meth.

What it actually does mean is that things have to go like clock work in order for the plan to hang together each day. There’s only so much room for things to go wrong – but trouble always seems to rear its ugly head.

It was your typical fall day. I had prepared a great supper for the guys in the field the evening before, so that all I had to do was pop it in the oven after work, head out to do chores, load it all up in the van and haul it out to somewhere in Nebraska or South Dakota wherever it seemed like they were working that night.

(Ladies, let’s be honest: we love our guys, but do you not tire of the job of hauling food all over North America on the “‘Til the Cows Come Home” plan?)

Anyway, I was going to leave work a little early in order to make it all fit in that night. I didn’t leave work quite on time, but it was still OK.

I put my things in the van, and went to close the sliding door on the driver’s side. The door had been working a little hard lately, and I couldn’t accomplish the task with one arm, due to tendenitis in the elbow. So, I did what any good farm wife would do, I two-armed the door to get it shut.

And that’s when it happened.

The entire sliding door fell off of the side of the van. Whoa! If I thought I was strong in anything other than smell, I would never have attempted such a feat. This was ridiculous, even for me.

Naturally, since I was in a parking lot in town, I feigned the look that says, “It’s cool.” I looked around to see if anyone had the misfortune of seeing what had just occurred. I tried to see if I could just slip the door back into the track where it fell out. I lifted the van door and the only thing that accomplished was to make me look ridiculous, and prove that octopi are highly underrated.

I set the door down, not thinking about how maddening it was that the door had fallen off of the van, but at how mad I was that my plan with my great meal had now been foiled, so to speak. It would take forever to get everything done now.

So, I did what any responsible farm wife would do under these circumstances – I called my husband who was combining.

Following a double inquiry to ensure that he heard me correctly, the laughing began. When he could speak again, the plan was made, and I called the local body shop. Luckily, they were still open. The guy arrived and got the door temporarily put back on with little to no fanfare for all of his skills in parking lot “doors-falling-off-the-side-of-vans” repairs. Shouldn’t there be some kind of music for that?

I ordered out for supper, and when I got to the field, I handed one of my sons a Styrofoam box. He asked where the meatballs were that he had been looking forward to, so I said, “Well, (knowing he would never believe the story), they’re going to be for supper next time because the door fell off the of the side of the van after work.”

It was like telling a pack of laughing hyenas once the men all flocked around and heard the story. Supper-time van door inspections were made under the lights of combines, semis and tractors hooked to grain carts.

And I spent the rest of the night making supper deliveries and going home again, paranoid that the door would fall off again as I was driving down the road.

I really wished that the cows had already come home by then.

Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net.

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