That Idiotic Pony had better be thankful. Tonight she’s tucked snuggly under her tarps and for the first Thanksgiving in many years she’s out of the woods. I was out working on the Pony this afternoon for several hours, but more about that later. While I worked, Gene and his wife Lynn did chores around the house in anticipation of a big family gathering over the Thanksgiving holiday. That got me thinking on the way home about the 60-some odd Thanksgivings I should remember from my years on this planet. Most just run together in my mind as one long turkey-eating, relative meeting, kids and dogs a bleating mess. Oh, and some football. Only one of these holidays really stands out.
Thanksgiving, circa 1982. The Princess, son Andrew (age 8) and I lived in Elkhart, IN; the Princess’s parents lived in Dolton, IL. That year the plan was to have Thanksgiving in Dolton, which would require a trip of 100 miles. Weather clear, everyone healthy, no problems. Well, there was the fact that we were driving a 1980, diesel-powered Olds 88. The idiotic author, actually we need some stronger word here…lame-brained, whatever, had several years earlier bought a brand new, gigantic, bergundy-colored diesel-powered Olds, something offered for the first time in 1980.
That car was so big that when I drove down our street, my own wife and son laughed at me because, according to them, all they saw was my little head sticking up above the level of the widows, kind of like a little round fish in an aquarium. I would have protested at this family derision except that the way I looked in this car (probably like a pimp), wasn’t half as bad as the decision I had made in buying it. Ha, this reminds of another thing. One day, when we lived in Philly I was walking through Reading Terminal Market on my way home doing some shopping. It was all suits and ties back then, and, as the Princess liked to say, I was something of a clothes horse. Well, as I was picking out some produce, an elderly African-American lady walked up to me and said, “You really look sharp!” I was kind of embarrassed, but I have to admit flattered too. I later related this experience to someone in the office (a reader of this blog), who was very quick to say, “Oh yeah, she probably thought you looked like a pimp.” So, there you go…maybe I missed my calling.
Holy cow, that was a sidetrack off a sidetrack. Back to our Thanksgiving story, the nagging little time bomb that was about to knock our Thanksgiving all to hell was the damn diesel engine under the hood. I should have known the day I bought it that this car was trouble. The day I picked-up the car, Andy was with me. We pulled out of the dealer’s lot into a driving rainstorm, and by the time we got home, there was water all over the back seat. It was downhill from there. I could have written a way better blog about that car! Shoot, sorry, side tracked again.
Anyway, we were somewhere, I think around Hammond. It always smelled awful around there. I was whipping along in the fast lane, and all of a sudden, nuthin. The engine just stopped, and somehow in Thanksgiving day traffic, me in a panic, I guided the car to the shoulder. That car was as dead last-week’s road kill. What now.
I guess for something as bad as this, things went as well as could be expected. A state trooper showed-up after a while, he called a tow truck, the tow truck took us to a truck stop, and the truck stop could do nothing. Sometime during this period we realized that since the Princess’s parents had recently moved (and their number was unlisted), we couldn’t get ahold of them. They wondered all day what had become of us.
I entered into negotiations with the tow truck driver and after some hard bargaining for, I believe it was $200, not a small sum then, he agreed to tow the car (with all four of us in the cab), poor Andy jammed up against the driver, all the way back to Elkhart. He dropped the car at the dealership, took us home and that was our day. We had spaghetti for dinner that night.
But talk about thankful. We were so happy to be back home that to this day I consider that spaghetti dinner as one of our best Thanksgiving meals.
Now you’re probably thinking all this storytelling and side-tracking was just my way of getting out of telling you about The Pony, BUT YOUR WRONG. I have been working diligently, and I have pictures to prove it. For most of the last week, with temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s I have been out at the tractor at least a couple of hours each day.
In the event that by some miracle, I get the engine ready to put back in the tractor before spring, I wanted to get the engine compartment, degreased, wire brushed, cleaned and painted. I accomplished all of that, at least up through a coat of brown primer. Gene and Lynn were kind enough to take a few shots of me as I worked, so below you will see me at work and the finished product.
Well listen, I’m incredibly grateful for your readership. This little blog has brought me closer to so many people, and made my life richer in the process. I am truly thankful. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday and as always, thanks for reading.