Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What day is this?

Hi, his eyes spoke
pulling her down to his lips
Hi, she answered
inhaling the deep
yes of him

It doesn't really say "Hi."  It is the insignia for International Harvester. I have written about this truck, when it came into our family, a nice heavy and slow vehicle for our sons to drive to high school.   It is a 1955 International pick up, with the first automatic (on the column!) transmission made by the company. It lived on its ranch until one day I was walking and discovered it parked out in the orchard, grass growing up around its hubcaps and axles, with a "For Sale" sign propped up on the windshield.

I learned how to drive in a '54 International truck.  It was our hay truck, with a flatbed.  First I drove in the pastures, while my brother Bob threw the hay, flake by flake (that is a section of the hay bale...) in a long, snake-like trail behind us.  The heifers and dry stock lined up on either side of the scattered hay, tossing their heads with the alfalfa and swishing their tails.  Bucolic, until Bob got behind the wheel.  That's when the chore of feeding became interesting.  That's when we ripped circles, peeled out in the lane, and I laughed so hard I thought I'd pee.

Well, that was a diversion.  My driving was never as risky as his.  It always seemed like if I stomped on it, I got stuck in a mud hole or, once, I slid through the mud aiming for the gate, and ripped off one mirror and severely bent the other one.  By the time I graduated to driving on the highway, Bob had taken the bend out of the gearshift and put a beautiful resin ball that he'd made in 'shop on it as a handle.  The truck had a rakish angle and a reputation that had little to do with me, the younger sister.  It took skill to get from 1st to 2nd without raucously grinding gears and I did master this.  My favorite thing to do was to speed and to down-shift, making me hard to catch.  Ha.

Of course, I cannot leave this post, or the thoughts of that truck, without bringing Thyra (say Tear-ah), our Border Collie/McNab dog into the picture.  It was her truck.  She loved to go for rides, and she loved to spread hay, too.  She rode on the bed with Bob, and would bite any cow dumb enough to come so close.  We allowed her to ride with us, she sat in the middle.  Maybe we even opened the door for her, so truthfully, she allowed us to drive her out to the pasture.

Thyra did not allow her kids (us) to wrassle (wrestle) in her presence.  She would leap upon the pile of kicking writhing and unsuspecting kids and bite whatever appendage she could grasp.  I am not kidding or exaggerating.  She was possessive of her truck, and her family. One evening she came with me as I drove uptown to pick up a younger brother from football practice.  A classmate of mine came out first and was bothering me and I could hear Thyra growling low in her throat.  "You better step back," seriously, I warned him and I admit that I did relish what I knew was coming.  Sure enough, he did not heed my warning, "...she won't....  aahhhhhhh!  Ouch!  Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!"  Football players can make a lot of noise when they have a Border Collie/McNab attached to their arm.

It occurs to me, in this moment, that I kind of miss wrassling.  



Pat said...

What a great story! It came to life as I read it, and reminded me of some of my own driving stories.

I'm glad our paths have crossed, Larabee. You have a great style!

Peter said...

Hi, I thought I would return the favour and drop by. And I am so glad I did!
Being a nosy soul I just love the little glimpses you get of other peoples lives that you get through their blogs and being city bred myself, yours sounds idyllic.

Being a gardener yourself you might like this talk I found on -

It certainly made me think and was 17minutes well spent.

(loved "meandering" bye the way)


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