Monday, April 10, 2017

The Mud Below

  I know spring is here when my friend Steve tells me his truck is stuck. Steve has a 1986 Toyota four wheel drive pickup which he likes to drive around the roads he has cut on his tree farm. In the spring, when the frost goes out, the truck's knobby tires break through the surface and sink into the bottomless mud. It's too late to back out. That just throws more clumps of mud onto the watching trees.
  Last year he used his tractor to pull the truck out and got the tractor stuck too. So this year Steve was determined to get the truck out with his own brains and brawn. He called me in as a consultant. I used to work on the farm of a wild German. This fellow would look out his window and if it was sunny in Berlin he would order us workers to "Run, run!" and we would drive out into the field and promptly get  stuck. We all got very good at extricating our equipment without calling for help, because help was miles away and cell phones had not yet been invented.
  When I arrived on the scene at Steve's, his truck had been sitting for a week. I could see he had cut a bunch of brush and stuck it under the wheels. He said this was how our ancestors got mastodons out of tar pits. We had carried some 2x4s out to the site, a nine minute walk from the house.  Steve used his Handyman jack to raise the rear tires enough to slip the 2x4s under the wheels. As Steve warmed up the engine I said a prayer of release. The tires spun on the planks and clouds of wood smoke billowed out. I love that smell. The 2x4s squirted to the side and chunks of mud began to fly.
  Steve had some concrete blocks in the back of his truck and got the idea to slip a block under the tire. This involved jacking the truck up again and shoveling away enough mud to slip the block into place. Then I jacked the truck up a few more clicks to get the 2x4 between the block and the tire to create a smooth highway for the truck. The chunk of plywood under the jack groaned and creaked and sank further into the mud but we got our plan in place. Steve fired up the truck. I said my prayer and he almost got out. Well let's jack up the other side and repeat. About this time Steve's wife Jackie arrived with refreshments and we took a break. At length we got the other side jacked, blocked and planked. Now it was no problem. Back he went, but he had to keep moving till he reached high ground and the mud flew for fifty feet. Momentum had shifted away from the mud and in favor of Steve. Next year we'll get the job done in half the time because we have a proven method.

Annual ritual

Please release this truck

Pretty doesn't get you out
Let us celebrate!


Wannaskawriter said...

It seems to me--and I admit me memory ain't what it should be given me advanced age and all--that using the tractor to get the truck out two years ago because you had worked for Grunig and knew all about getting unstuck was your idea. Whereas I was reluctant and doubtful, you were not. And further, ignoring my better judgement and years of forboding at the precipice of dilemma, I go and bury me old Massey-Ferguson 180 diesel tractor beside it too--me excellent two wheel drive machine with its sugar beet by-product ballast in each tire that aids in pulling a plow in a field but doesn't act as flotation crossing a virtual swamp! What was I thinking listening to you yet again? ARGH!

I have pictures of this fiasco someplace, to remind meself that me getting unstuck ideas are often the wisest, you know what I'm saying? Further yet, my elder friend, it was me who got me truck out of the bog that year, by meself, with the Handyman and snowmobile track mats. (We'd used dem this year but they're all still buried in the ditch along your driveway where I got stuck last year) I had to call neighbor Ed, again, to come over with his big four-wheel drive rig and pull the tractor out, an arduous task even with his huge equipment.
"Call us anytime, we can get you out of anything," he said, laughing.

But I admit this year, your idea, moral support, and prayer efforts were noteworthy if only in comparison to your idea two years ago. Plus, Ed didn't have to be called.
You're a true friend.

Joe said...

Biblically epic! Protagonists likely descendants of Genesis 11:1-9. Happy you didn't need to part any seas. Success, ultimately through some divine intercession, Psalm 40:2.