Bernie Madoff and Tractors?

I apologize to those of you who are not subscribers, and need to check my site each day to see if my writers strike is over.  Since I couldn’t ask for more pay (what’s two times zero), I asked for better working conditions.  I was holding-out for a two-martini cocktail hour, but The Princess felt that having the carpet in the computer room restretched constituted an improvement, so I’m finally back to “work.”  See how hard on me she is?

A quick item.  What is it with the people around here; they seem obsessed, or it might just be me.  Not long ago I called your attention to an item in our newspaper, advertising a “Breastfeeding Cafe.”  Then Thursday while again reading the local Carrboro rag there was this item, “World Breastfeeding Challenge.”  The attendant article promised something called “The Big Latch-on.”  Folks, I don’t care what the rules are, I accept the challenge!  Another interesting tidbit, I just ran spell check and it suggests that the word Marlboro be substituted for Carrboro!

Speaking of woman things, I was reminded yesterday of a uniquely feminine characteristic that I’ve discovered and actually named.  I call it “The Woman’s Follow-up Question.”  There are a few men (mostly trained journalists) that practice this, but they are the exception.  Here’s how it works.  I go to Whole Foods and ask, “Do you have any cod.”  The counter person answers, “no,” and I leave.  I come home and tell The Princess,  “Whole Foods had no cod,” and she says, “When will they have some?”  I answered, “Don’t know, that’s a woman’s follow-up question.”  Women tend to want more facts, they dig, they probe; its troubling.  Be careful about this guys; there’s no telling what they can find out if you know too much.  Stick with one factual question, get the yes or no answer, or the one piece of data and then shut down.  This will assure minimum transfer of data and no conversation.

Now to justify the Headline, I must explain that Sunday Gene and I took a road trip, and since he drove, there was nothing traumatic about the trip.  Our goal was a small tractor show up in a little town that at one time no one had heard of, but now, thanks to Bernie, maybe six people have.  I’m speaking, of course, of Butner, NC.  Yes, Butner is the home of the Federal prison where Bernie gets to spend the rest of his life.  As long as we were going up there anyway (it’s about 35 mi from here), I asked Gene if we could stop by and get a few pictures for my readers.  Of course, above I’ve provided a shot of the sign at the entry, and below is a shot of one of the facilities buildings. 

You know, maybe it was just that it was such a dang nice day, but that looks like a very nice place.  As we drove out though, I commented to Gene that even though Bernie lived “high off the ol’ hog” for quite a while, there is no sum of money that is worth one’s freedom.  Enjoy your stay, Bernie, you earned it!

So here’s the fun part.  About 50 vintage tractors spread out in a park-like setting, many of them running at sometime during out visit.  The big treat for me, there were two, restored, Massey-Harris Ponies, one of which we got to see run.  For comparison, and in the event you’ve forgotten what my pony looks like, here’s the shot I took just after she was dropped off at Gene’s.  Then next to that is a shot of one of the fully restored Ponies from Sunday’s show.  These are just thumbnail images, but don’t forget, you can click on ’em to make ’em larger.  Quite a difference, eh?  I don’t want to raise your expectations too high.  My Pony will never look as fancy as this fully restored one.  But we will be cleaning her up and painting her, and I’ll expect she’ll look good from a distance, but as the director said to the camera operator while they were filming Dustin Hoffman in drag for the film, Tootsie, “Not too close!”

We saw a lot of tractor makes and models from many decades.  We saw big ones, small ones and everything in between, but I tell you, the reason there were two Ponies in this fairly small show is that they’re so cute.  One of Pony owners said he paid $500 for his Pony, and it’s engine was frozen just like mine.  So, the way I see it, since I only paid $50 for my Pony, that’s $450 right there that I can put into tractor parts, before I need to start the meter running.  At least that’s the way I’m going to present it to The Princess.

Before wrapping-up, one final item.  I was out doing my morning 40 mi on the bike yesterday and at an intersection about 3 mi from the house I looked down in the road and saw a brand new horse shoe lying in the road.  I’ve been putting serious miles in for over 20 years, and in that time I’ve found all kinds of stuff:  a lot of tools, scads of lost change, golf balls, cell phones, credit cards, and due to the fact that for many years I road in Amish country, stuff that fell off horses.  That included brass and leather parts off the reins, some quite decorative, and of course, old horseshoes.  I once gave The Princess a Valentine’s Day heart that was made of leather, with silver studs that I found in the road.  Now that I type this out and think about it, that heart might not have been Amish…maybe some kinky bondage thing…nah.

Anyway, the horseshoe that I found in the intersection was brand new, painted gold and had a brown ribbon on it, strange.  When I got home and examined it, I found the truly interesting part.  The picture below shows the a word embossed on the underside of the shoe, and I’ve circled it in red.  This is another one that you may need to click on in order to really see what I’m talking about.  Anyway, how great, a horseshoe with The Pony’s name on it (hey, isn’t that a little red pony?).  Of course, the horse shoe is a symbol of good luck.  If only I’d found this thing sooner, maybe the engine wouldn’t have been all froze up.  Thank you all for your patience and for reading.  I’ll let you know when I hear back from the machine shop.  Now that we’ve got the horseshoe, I’m expecting good news!

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