Folks who know me well should sit down. Right now! That’s because I don’t want you to faint dead away when I tell about my out-of-the-ordinary, off-the-wall Father’s Day.
First, as preface, I’ve mentioned many times that I am not mechanically inclined — in any way. I hate grease and oil and scraped knuckles. To my way of thinking, mechanical things are expensive conveniences that I buy only for the purpose of taking care of me.
Taking care of my mechanical contrivances — better known as routine maintenance — is never a high priority for me. I know, I know, that’s not rational thinking, but that’s the way I am and I’m way too old to start changing my deeply ingrained habits now.
My most regular conveyance is my 25-year-old 1997, dark blue, Ford F-150 pickup truck with only 140,000 miles on it — traveled mostly on dusty or muddy or rocky gravel roads. I keep good 10-ply tires on it because I hate changing flat tires. I change the oil about twice a year — or when I think about it. I check the anti-freeze after it’s already deep into winter and I refill the windshield washer fluid usually after the reservoir is empty. I check the tire pressure when I notice a tire is low. I replace the windshield wipers after the rubber gets ragged and the blade begins to scrape on the windshield.
So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that my pickup truck seldom gets washed on the outside — other than rain — and less frequently gets cleaned up on the inside. In short, it’s always filthy all over — dried mud and bug spots on the outside and a thick coat of dust on the dashboard and floorboards. All the windows were streaked from the slobbers of my last bird dog, Mandy, who I sold two years ago. However, there was no plain ol’ trash inside as I can’t stand that stuff and never let it accumulate. Some wag even wrote “Wash Me, Please” on the tailgate.
That’s the background to my off-the-wall Father’s Day. That holiday Sunday, ol’ Nevah went overboard and fixed us some scrumptious 3-egg omelets for breakfast. Then we played a game or two of our favorite 2-person card game casino.
After breakfast, since we were spending the day with no company scheduled, Nevah asked, “What shall we do today?” That’s when I floored her with, “Why don’t we go into Emporia, wash my pickup at the new fan-dangled automatic car wash, and then detail it from bumper to bumper, inside and out?”
And, that’s what we did — $18 for the “all-everything” car wash and unlimited time at adjoining vacuum. And, then when we got home, I got a bucket of soapy water and detailed the paint job and bumpers. Meanwhile, Nevah cleaned the dashboard and the inside windows.
When we were through, my ol’ pickup looked like new except for a few minor paint scratches on the tailgate. That is the good news. The bad news is that I didn’t move the pickup out of the garage until after it started raining three days later. So, it immediately got muddy again. It’s doubtful if I’ll ever get in such a “clean vehicle” mood again in the pickup’s lifetime — or in mine.
An ambitious reader, ol’ Dan D. Lyons, recently sent me what he called, “Memories from an Iowa farmboy.” Here’s his story:
“My mother, when I was preteen, one day decided with the abundance of rhubarb to make wine. She took a 50-gallon crock and lightly washed the rhubarb. She had me help chop it up and put in the crock. She added raisins and berries and, of course, a lot of sugar. Water was added to the mix in the big fermentation tank and stirred for several minutes before topping everything off with an old clean dish towel which was tied with string. String was supposed to keep all the cellar dwellers out that lurked in the basement. Scary dark place the basement was to a kid.
“For about 3 to 4 weeks the whole house had the wonderful aroma of basement hootch. Then one sunny summer morning the pastor of our rural country church made an unannounced visit. My mother was horrified. She knew the house reeked of the wonderful fragrance of that mystifying supernatural concoction. The preacher didn’t say a word — maybe hopeful he would receive a gift of the heavenly smelling booze. When the fermentation stopped, we bottled the rhubarb wine by carefully filling empty Welch grape juice bottles to the top with the pinkish wine.
“After a month the cellar wine turned clear white. The wine was opened and we all got to sample a bit of the brew — very strong, but had a distinct flavor — wonderfully sweet with a hint of tartness, not a clue it was a rhubarb wine. Three months later relatives visited. The grownups were playing cards at the kitchen table, which at our farm was the center of our lives.
“One relative asked, ‘Do you have anything to drink?’ He meant booze. Mother had an evil twinkle in her eyes knowing what she had in the basement, and said, ‘of course.” She had us fetch a bottle of the booze and told them what it was. ‘That would not get a buzz to a buzzard,’ one kinfolk replied. That individual, after consuming most of the old Welch bottle of spirits, had to be carefully helped to the pickup and driven home. Amazingly, we named the wine was BUZZARD BREW from that time on. Memories from an Iowan farm kid.”
Thanks Dan D. for your story. Words of wisdom for the week: “If brains were water, some folks couldn’t baptize a flea.” Have a good ‘un.