Climbing into the truck
My husband and our farm associate came in for dinner at noon one day this winter, and as the table conversation rolled along, my husband said to me, “You’ll never guess what I’m making for you out in the shop.”
They were working on our International cabover truck out there, which took up most of the room in the shop, so making something for me seemed highly unlikely. There wouldn’t even be room to do anything else besides walk around the truck.
I envisioned a fire ring for cozy outdoor evenings with family and friends, or even a beverage holder for the mower so I can sip all I want in the four hours it takes me to uncover this place in all the billowing dirt and tall grass. Following his cue from my knitted eyebrows, he said, “I’m making you an ‘old lady’ handle so you can get up into the cabover easier.”
Well, I … I guess that was thoughtful. My husband has his own way of complimenting a woman, as you can see. Honestly, with the strength and athletic prowess needed to pole vault into that truck, I think it should be an Olympic event-and I even passed the Presidential Physical Fitness Test back in the 1970s.
I’m pretty sure it was the last time I was physically fit, too.
His remark reminded me of the feelings I once had about our grand-dog, whose growls and barks once kept an appliance repairman out of the house one day when I was gone. I was annoyed to find out the dog wouldn’t let the repairman in, but on the other hand, was glad that he was protective of our home. I remembered thinking, “Bad dog! … er, wait …. good dog…!”
Farmers tend to be very direct. In all the years our children were growing up, multitasking for me was never a good choice if it meant I had to go outside to check the meat on the grill and keep the food in the house going.
Even today, our children hardly recognize a hamburger if it doesn’t have ashes on it.
One evening as we all sat down to supper, my husband took a bite of whatever it was I had made, and said, “This is good. It ain’t burnt and don’t taste like sh…..” (You get it.)
Our teenage children tried, but couldn’t suppress their laughter.
So instead of focusing on the ‘old lady handle’ part of his statement, I focused on the ‘…so you can get into the cabover easier” part. I said, “Yay! Best Christmas present ever!”
When the corn and soybeans come out of the fields, so do the trucks. When I need to get into the cabover, I have to pray a Hail Mary and gun it. Sometimes I reach the summit on the first try but most of the time it’s free entertainment for neighboring farmers.
I suppose if I learned to drive the truck and haul corn myself, I wouldn’t have to experience the agony of defeat, as they say. After all, there is a steering wheel on the driver’s side that the guys can grab onto to get themselves in on the first try. They’re always waiting for me to hoist myself in.
I’ve thought from time to time that a pogo stick could save my ego lest someone on the ground should have to help me up.
My husband must have been from the Old Country in a previous life. He still enjoys the challenge-and the satisfaction of, the savings that come from fixing or making something himself. Truth be told, I marvel at his ingenuity and creativity, even if his latest invention is an ‘old lady handle’ for the truck. I’m not complaining, because it will most likely save me years of public embarrassment, the older I get.
On a side note, I read somewhere that corn smut is considered a delicacy in Mexico. And that the official Aztec-based word for it is, ‘huitlocoche,’ which means, ‘excrement of the gods.’
By comparison, I think being the inspiration behind an ‘old lady’ truck handle’ could be the least of my problems, especially if I ever find myself in a fancy restaurant in Guadalajara.
But when my eyes first fall upon his newest invention, I’m thinking of saying, “… this is great! It ain’t burnt and don’t look like sh….”
Oh karma. BOO-ya.
Karen Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.karenschwaller.com.
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