Tag Archives: Massey Harris Pony

That’s All Folks

I wrote the first post to this blog back in the summer of 2010, and that was 242 posts ago!  I don’t know about you, but I certainly had no idea back then that it would take me this long to get out from under all that Pony business.  The blog has been so many things to me over the years that it is now as hard for me to let it go as it was to see the Pony itself go down the driveway for the last time.

This blog has served as my diary, my means of venting and crowing, a lifeline (for the Pony and me), a place to write things and share thoughts that would otherwise have just stopped inside my alleged brain.  You know, if a tree falls in the forest…if a thought stays within a brain.  I’m sure there were times when you thought, ok, he didn’t need to share that!  Remember my ill-fated attempt at shaving my butt?  Now that was an idea that should not only have stayed within my brain, but certainly should not have been acted upon.

When there wasn’t enough Pony news to write about I digressed to just about any time, place or subject, even to poetry.  But mostly the blog was about human connections,  staying connected with family and friends, rejoicing in old friends refound, and in new friends drawn-in, and sometimes having to mourn those who were lost.  And since all of this was the Pony’s “fault,” it is only fitting that I close the blog out with a slide show featuring him.  Be sure to click “full screen,” when the video shows-up, and when it’s over you can hit your browsers “back” button to return here.

The Pony Years, 2010-2017

My very profound thanks to you all, not just for reading, but for having been a part of my life, and for having been the best reason to have done this.

The Pony Lives!

So, when I left you last it was with a plea for a solution to the Pony’s starting difficulty.  I thank all who took a shot at solving my perplexing problem.  You’ll recall that in my lame effort to fix the problem I removed the carb, took it all apart, cleaned it, checked the float, reassembled it and then reinstalled it.  All this went for nothing, however, as the Pony continued to sputter at best, and then finally I was left with the starter motor grinding away and no ignition at all.

Well, I designated Saturday as Pony day, went down to the garage and brought the Idiotic Brother up on the “horn.”  “All right,” I said, “What do I do first?”  He said that I should start at the spark plugs, checking for spark and if there is spark there, to keep working my way back from there to a point where there is no spark.  “Ok,” I said, “Now, you understand you are working with a total idiot here, right?”  He laughed, and explained that I needed to remove a spark plug wire from one of the plugs and touch it to ground, like one of the head bolts or to the manifold.  I tried this and I saw maybe one spark, but not much activity at all.  He then said to remove all the plugs and do the test again, explaining that this would remove compression, allow the engine to turnover faster and, if there was spark, I’d see a lot of it.  I’m telling you, when we were kids, there was no way I would have taken orders from my brother like this.  But in this case I had to recognize his vastly superior knowledge, but most of all I was just plain desperate.

Anyway, I followed orders, touched the plug wire to ground and I saw absolutely nothing.  “Alright,” he said, “The next step back from the plugs is the distributor.  If the points don’t visibly look damaged, remove the condenser and replace it.”  I can’t tell you how skeptical about this I was, because the the condenser I had in there had maybe a total of 25 hours of operation on it.  But as luck would have it, because Maggie Simpson (Parts Detective) had sent me a replacement distributor kit a while back, I had right there in the garage a condenser to slip in.  So, without too much trouble I was able to make the change.  I then did the spark test again holding the plug wire to a head bolt, and Holy Crap!  There was spark!  I hastily put everything back together, turned on the ignition, pulled out the choke and hit the starter.  I mean just bang, on the first try, the old Pony fired right up.  Hallelujah!  I called Jim back, let him hear the Pony’s little engine putt, putt, putting away, thanked him and then immediately went out for a spin around the block.

Alright,  there was one person, my friend Joe Strain, who mentioned the word “condenser” in his email to me following the last post.  But I don’t know, Joe, you mentioned so much stuff that I felt like you were just kind of throwing mud up against the wall and hoping something would stick.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to (grudgingly) admit that my brother “nailed it,” and in light of that I am hereby declaring him “HORSE WHISPERER TO THE BLOG.”  Regrettably, family members are not eligible for the jam, so Joe, you get the jam.  There may be a supply issue on that jam, Joe, so if I can’t scrounge some up, you’ll get a jar from next spring’s batch.

There’s more good news too.  In extended operation on Saturday, neither the radiator, nor any of it’s fittings leaked a drop, so the Pony now has another of its issues behind it.

When I explained to both The Princess and then Andy how replacement of the condenser had solved the Pony’s problem, both those idiots had the nerve to ask me what a condenser does.  Its always kind of fun to go to the tractor guys discussion board for an answer, and this condenser explanation was no exception.  Here’s a “condensed” version of the various answers:

What does a Condenser do?

1. They debounce the points.

2. A condenser or capacitor is used to promote a faster collapse of the magnetic field. Neither component will allow direct current to pass through it to ground; however, alternating current is able to pass through. A direct current that pulses very fast becomes alternating current and can pass through the condenser or capacitor. This allows the current in the primary coil circuit to pass through either of these components to ground.

3. The condenser is connected to the primary winding . Once the current stops, the magnetic field falls back into the primary winding to stabilize the current within the winding. The faster the current in the primary winding dissipates through the condenser, the faster the magnetic field will collapse. The rapid movement of the magnetic field increases the induction within the secondary winding and the current, being pushed by a high voltage of up to 50kV, will look for a pathway or circuit.  I think Dell has the best answer at least its simple enoufh fer me to understand

4. Condensers “absorb” the inductive coil magnetic field induced flow of electrons when the points OPEN. This is a normal natural coil phenomon and is actually what causes “sparkies” that make yer sparkles spark.
Without a condenser, that 0.015″ points gap will burn-out. When you really OPEN a switch (and points are a special switch) there is little/NO spark strong enuff to jump a WIDE-GAPP, but that itty-bitty 0.015 points gap ain’t wide enuff, so the electrons will JUMP the gap unless they are absorbed by the condenser.

5. NOTE: condensers are 2-metal foil conductors seperated by an insulative film. When the points close, the points actually short-out the 2-foils and DISCHARGE the condenser so there is a place ready the next time to absorb the extra electrons when the points OPEN. I went to college 4-yrs to learn that simplistic explanation.

6. I always use:  A condensor is a road block for dc current and a highway for AC current 🙂

7.  Right on Dell. That is what I learned also. I learned in addition as a side benefit that the discharge of the condenser when the points close aids in rebuilding the magnetic field in the coil.

8. Yes it prevents/minimizes the sparking at the points. How it does that is a mystery to me, I am electrically challenged as Dell puts it.

9. The condenser prevents points from burning out in a very short time.

Of course my favorite part, “This is a normal natural coil phenomenon and is actually what causes ‘sparkies’ that make yer sparkles spark.” And I like number 6 too.

I believe the stage is now set for “A very Pony holiday season.”  I’ll stay in touch as it unfolds, and as usual, thanks for reading.







What Was He Up To?

First things first.  After not counting the cost of the starter rebuild, but adding in the cost of hardware purchased for the new side panel attachment system, note that the C-O-M now stands at a rather retail sounding $3995.  Whew, I believe that’s it, the final cost of the Pony restoration.  It brings to mind a conversation Gene and I had in the early days of the Pony work.  Trying to get an idea of how committed I was to the project, Gene asked how much I was willing to spend on the job.  I threw out the number $1500, thinking that was a number I could live with and certainly enough to get the job done.  Gene and I hadn’t known each other that long at the time, but I remember the doubtful look on his face, and could imagine the likely thought behind it…what a dreamer!

Since we’ve been talking about the Pony’s C-O-M, you might also find it interesting that the blog is now 6-years-old, in which time I’ve written (using that term loosely) 234 posts.  I got a coupon recently from Staples, so I had them print-off every post since the beginning, almost 1000 pages!  I know, I know, you’re thinking what a waste of paper, but I thought, you know some day I might “weed” through it all and see if there’s any lawn left when I’m done.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

But with the Pony restoration complete, what’s ahead for That Idiotic Tractor.  Man, I don’t know, but I paid the annual fee to keep my website for another year, so I’ll fill up this space with something, believe me, at least into 2017.

Stuff like this.  And to head off complaints like, “There he goes, talking about his ass again,” I’m just going to say that recently I was diagnosed with “pudendal nerve entrapment.”  If you’re brave enough you can google that condition.  Suffice to say, that when you’ve spent over 100,000 miles on a bike seat, there are going to be issues “down under, and I don’t mean in Australia.”  Then at the same time that that medical issue has been going on, I came up with another small medical problem.  A month ago a red thing showed up on the lower eye lid of my left eye along with some puffiness under the eye.  A pretty firm practice of mine is what I call “the three week rule.”  I ignore any medical condition for three weeks before going to the doctor.  Generally stuff just goes away on its own in that time frame, but if it doesn’t, then the rule requires getting into the doctor pronto.

So still no big deal, at least in the most recent case.  Just as you probably already have, my crack medical team diagnosed a sty in my eye.  Not very exciting, but the new technique for treating it was curious.  They said to boil an egg, wrap it in a dry wash cloth and hold it against my eye for half an hour. What? Why not wait for a full moon too, for crying out loud.  And do this five times a day.  Well, the “pudendal thing” requires sitting with an ice pack in my crotch for 20 minutes after bike rides.  So why not as they say, kill two birds (or medical conditions) with one stone.

I shove one of those blue ice packs from the freezer inside a pair of bike shorts (clean ones) and then hold a hot egg to my eye.  As I was doing this I thought, man if I had a heart attack and died while doing this, what would the coroner’s line be in my episode of CSI?  “Well, he’s got an ice pack in his crotch and a hot, hard boiled egg in his eye.  It’s obvious he’s had a heart attack, and we’re looking for the villainous doctors that egged him on.”

Thanks for six years of reading and Happy Labor Day.



Video Games

Pony News
I had that open question of what to do about the cost of the starter rebuild, namely should it be charged against the Cost-O-Meter, or just be considered an ongoing maintenance cost?  Well, I got my answer.  Ever since my cousin, Bill, reminded me that the quarters I welded into the Pony’s oil pan should be included in the C-O-M, I’ve kind of considered him the unofficial blog accountant.  As you can tell from his reminder, he’s a real stickler.  He weighed in on this recent matter and said that I should consider the starter rebuild cost maintenance.  Cool, so we’re still shy of $4,000 on the old C-O-M.

I did spend a few dollars on hardware, however, when I converted my side panel attachment system to “quick release.”  But I’ll tell you, it was money well spent.    The side panels are usually held on by seven screws with washers and nuts behind the panels.  There’s a lot of stuff that one needs to get at behind those panels (battery, cables, fuel shut-off, steering box), and it’s a pain in the ass to remove all those screws every time you want to get inside there.  My attachment process only involves three attachment points all accessible from the exterior of the tractor.  I put together a little YouTube video demonstrating for other Pony owners how they can make the conversion, and it’s included below.  When you play it you’ll be able to see the neat, new system.

Although my acting certainly won’t earn me any Academy nominations, credit to son, Andrew, for the seamless videography.  And from that credit you have likely deduced that Andy was her for a visit, and on that you would be correct.  We had a barrel of fun canoeing out on the local lake, trying out new beers in the local brew pubs, and grilling anything and everything out on the grill (since he does not have access to that in NYC).  And, he always enjoys taking the Pony out for a spin (or two) on the “back 40,” so following are a couple of photos taken during one of those rides.


Man At Work, Well OK, Play Really


Son and Pony Taking a Breather

The only mishap occurred during the second ride, which I guess is my fault; we ran out of gas.  That Pony is a gas hog!

Other Pony News
A few weeks back I got a rather cryptic note into the blog simply asking me for the length of a Pony.  I went down to the garage, put a tape to the Pony and sent the dude the measurement (105 inches).  Then a week later I got an email from the same guy, Len Sharp, and it turns out he was fixing to bid on a Pony and wanted to make sure it fit on his trailer.  Turns out his was the winning bid and he sent the photo below of his prize.

1951 Pony

1951 Pony

Man, if my Pony had looked that good when I bought it, it would have cut 3 years off the restoration time.  Anyway, congrats Len, and good luck with your restoration.

Finally, in non-Pony news my Mom (Carol) will have her 93rd birthday next week, so I’d like to take this opportunity send out love from The Princess and me and our wishes for many, many more happy birthdays.  Thanks for reading.

Tip of the Cap, Rain Cap that is

Remember that sleeve the guy at the muffler shop made for me?  I hadn’t thought of it, but in order to be able to tighten the clamp and the sleeve around the muffler pipe it needed a slit cut into it.  I found this out when I tightened the clamp and all that happened was the clamp tightened the new stack to the sleeve, but not the muffler pipe.  Of course Gene had just the tool for cutting the slit, and here’s a photo he took of me at work on the job.

Version 2

Sparks a Flyin’

I was scared to death using that thing, but managed to get through the job without injuring myself.  I used the same metal cutter to cut a little steel off the clamp.  After using a file to neaten-up my work, I re-tightened the clamp.  This time everything snugged right up.

While I was working on this little project I started wondering after all this time whether I had the rain cap on correctly.

In the event you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a photo of the rain cap that I bought from All States Ag Parts.108631-2

Before reading further, take a guess as to which way you think this doohickey should be attached to the stack.

In the past I have always attached it with the hinge and “tail” toward the rear as shown in the photo.  I mentioned this to Gene, and he went to his computer, checked some old photos from a tractor show and said it looked like they were mounted with the hinge to the front.  When I got home I checked some photos on line, and from those there appeared to be no consensus.  As a final check I Googled “rain cap direction.”  Whoa, back in 2009 some guy was dumb enough (like me) to put the question to the Tractor Forum, and holy cow, what a barrage of responses (over 40).  After going through them all, I can report that even among “tractor nuts” there is no agreement, roughly equal numbers voting for hinge forward, backward and believe it or not, sideways!  Then too there were just as many voting to skip it altogether in favor of a can, soup, dog food, Nestle’s Quick and coffee cans were among those mentioned.

Those arguing for hinge back said it helped send the smoke a few inches higher.  Those arguing hinge forward said that that direction made it less likely the thing would get snagged in tree branches.  More importantly, in this position the cap remains closed when the tractor is being “trailored.”  Those voting for sideways claimed that this helped send smoke to the side and away from the driver.  The guys arguing for soup cans, etc seemed to be a fun-loving, contrary type.  They loved the fact that on occasion if one forgets to remove the can when starting the engine, it can get pretty exciting, blasting the can up to 40 feet into the air.  Along those lines, one guy suggested a new contest at tractor shows where a prize would be awarded to the tractor that could blow the can the highest!

Of course, there was a voice of reason in the group, “There is no right way, just whatever you prefer and makes you happy.”

But I’ll leave this subject with this colorful comment:  “Someone just told me all that diesel smoke I’ve been getting in my face over the years is going to give me cancer.  ‘Son of a gun’ I told them, ‘Then I may as well take up smoking, except I already do.’  I’m a gonner, that’s for sure.  Coal dust from the power plants when I hit them, diesel smoke in my face, Marlboro Lights in my pocket…I am in big trouble.  May as well take up drinkin’ and women too.  Oh no, I already do that too.  I am toast!”

In the “It’s hell to get old” category, I offer this little story.  In the last post I bragged about putting up a whole bunch of strawberry jam.  Turns out that even though I have been doing this for at least 25 years, the memory failed me this year and I put one cup too few of sugar in all those jars I did that first day.  Argh!  After making a couple of more batches (the right way) The Princess and I sampled the two batches.  We decided that they were both pretty darn good, the one that was short on the sugar was still sweet, it just didn’t set as hard.  I’m calling that “Jam Lite,” and recommending it for folks that would like to use it  as an ice cream topping.  Since I have a little extra of the “Lite” sitting around now, I’m offering to send a jar (free of charge) to the first person that sends an email to me “off blog” requesting one.(1)  You may send your email to:  bboehmke@nc.rr.com and, of course, include your mailing address.

Good luck!  And as always thanks for reading.

(1)  Those who already receive jam from me (you know who you are) are not eligible.

Pony Driver’s Stop Smoking Plan

The Princess and I were up in New York City last week, and on the train up I noticed that folks were out in the strawberry fields picking.  So, as soon as we got back I headed out to the usual patch, picked three buckets of berries, and brought them home for jam.  By dinner time Friday I’d made 15 jars of jam, so I think if I just make another five-jar batch next week I’ll be good for the year.  I made a strawberry pie yesterday and hopefully still have enough berries left for a few portions of strawberry shortcake to0.  After OD-ing on all that, I’ll probably slow down a bit and just have them on my morning cereal for a while.

And staying with the “things that are red” theme, I’ve been working on a little project for the Pony.  For some time now it has annoyed me that when I drive the tractor, I’m sitting right behind the exhaust stack, engulfed in a cloud of exhaust, breathing it, and later smelling of it.  It was like smoking a pack of cigarettes, but without the pleasure of the nicotine.  My idea was to get the exhaust to pass over me by adding a “stack” to the muffler.

I measured the muffler exhaust pipe and found that the O.D. was 1  5/16 inches.  I then went to my trusty AGCO parts book to see what I could find that would fit.(1)  The closest I could find was an exhaust stack with a 1  1/2 inch I.D.  I decided on a two-foot stack and to add some class, got it in chrome.  I also got a chrome clamp and a new rain cap, not available in chrome.  All in, about $50.

The parts arrived while we were out of town last week, so I was able to get right to work when we got home.  The first job was finding a sleeve to “step-down” the I.D. of the stack to as closely as possible match the O.D. of the muffler’s current exhaust pipe.  I had luck at the third place I stopped, an auto shop that did muffler work.(2)  The guys at the desk flagged a guy down as he passed through the office from the lot, and I explained what I needed.  He didn’t say one word, just turned around and headed back into the shop.  About ten minutes went by, before he popped back out holding the exact thing I had described.  I was so happy I almost forgot to ask if he could also cut four inches off the the top.(3)  Again, not a word, he simply retreated to the shop, came back in five minutes, and this time with just a hint of a smile, held out the finished product saying, “You’re going to have to file that burr on the inside.  I didn’t have a file.”  I said, “Man, that’s just perfect, what do I owe you?”  No quotation marks necessary here, he just shook his head and turned to head back into the shop.  I said, “Wait a minute,” and slid a tenner across the counter.  He reached back, snagged it and again with something just approaching a smile went through the door into the shop.

This little experience so struck me that I just have to preach a bit about how this guy exemplified the perfect employee:
*  Most important, he was a good listener.  I didn’t have to repeat myself.  He got it right the first time, including the dimensions I had mentioned.
*  He didn’t waste time.  Nothing unnecessary was said; the dude just turned and went to work.
*  Of course, he had the expertise.  He knew what to do and how to do it.
*  He had pride in a job well done, but wasn’t a show off.
*  Finally,  he’s not stupid…he took the ten bucks!

This is a direct contrast to the desk employee and for that matter most of the other employees (not Sammy, the doorman; he was great) at our New York hotel.  I explained to the employee that because the maid had left a window open in the room, it stank of McDonald’s hamburgers (shop just below).  I explained that they should strip the beds, deodorize the room and in general do whatever was necessary to get rid of the stink.  We really didn’t want to change rooms at that point.  That room stank when we returned to it later in the day and continued to stink for four straight days.  When the hotel’s email survey arrived a couple of days after we got home…oooooo, did they hear about it!

To get back on message, here’s a photo of the little sleeve he made, shown sliding up into the bottom of the stack.


Step-down Sleeve

Photo, courtesy of Gene.  Here’s what the finished project looks like.


Version 2

New Driver-friendly Stack

I tell you what, that thing looks sharp, and after a test drive, I can say it works pretty well too.  The Pony may still be smokin’, but at least I’m not inhaling it anymore!

Hey, happy Mayday.  The tradition here is to put the hummer feeder out on May 1.  So this morning I cooked-up a batch of hummer juice and after it cooled, filled and hung the feeder, which in keeping with this post’s theme, is of course red.  The females usually get here a week or so before the males (not going to touch that), so we’re ready for them.
Have a super month and thanks for reading.


(1)  You know, that dang book weighs two and a half pounds!  It cut-off the circulation in my legs as I sat paging through it and calling in my order.
(2)  The shop is Chapel Hill Tire, University Mall location; sorry, I didn’t get the employee’s name.
(3)  I Have to step back for a second to say that in doing a trial fit on the Pony, Gene and I found that at two feet, the stack was a bit to tall to get in and out of the garage.  Thus, the lopping of four inches.


Next Chapter

Hey, a couple of weekends ago I went out to Gene’s to get the Pony “out of mothballs,” and take him out for a run.  The Pony started right up, and I think I used up every piece of road out in Gene’s neighborhood before I put him back in the garage.  Here are a couple of photos.


Pony Hibernating

Version 2

Pony Wide Awake


Moving on.  Kind of a bitter sweet deal unfolded over the last couple of weeks.  I got a call from my friend, Martha, over at the EPA lab saying she could use me for a study where all I had to do was hawk up loogies for some pharmaceutical company.  For this I would walk out with a check for $85, so I said, “sign me up”!  Better yet, if it turned-out that I was an acceptable participant, I’d get a call-back for another “loogie session.”  In order to be acceptable for this particular study, one had to score at a particular level on a test where the amount of air one exhales in a second is compared to the total amount inhaled before the exhale.  This will mean nothing to you, hell it doesn’t mean anything to me, but on this test I needed to score .70 or higher, and try as I might, the best I could do was .68.  A call was placed to the company about my slight under-performance, but after a bit of a wait Martha said, “Well, you know, you’re gettin’ older and while your performance is just fine, it looks like we’re not going to be able to use you.”  She cut me a check, but I felt a bit deflated that I hadn’t “made the cut,” and that perhaps my guinea pig days were over.

But later that day Martha sent an email saying that the company would let me come in in a week and try again.  Once again I blew like the big bad wolf in The Three Little Pigs, but the result was exactly the same, .68.  I had thought that if I really tried, I could get a better result, but by golly, there was no fooling that infernal machine.  There were hugs and good-byes t0 Carol and Heather and Martha, who I’ve gotten to know over the years, and  it was just a bit sad both knowing that I likely would not be coming back and that, well let’s face it, my body had let me down.  And it was on the ride home with another $85 check in my wallet, that it occurred to me that Martha knew all along that I likely wouldn’t pass that test.  What she was allowing me was a little retirement bonus and a chance to come in one last time and say some good-byes.

I sent Martha an email later that day and thanked her, and she admitted that she hadn’t held out much hope that I’d pass.  She maintains that they could still call again for something else, but I’m pretty sure that that was the end of a chapter.

But until the book (or in this case, the blog) ends, there’s always another chapter, and for me that next chapter began at about the same time the EPA chapter was winding down.  Actually, that’s not true, it’s first pages were written over a year ago, but let me back up and explain.  Our power company is a cooperative, and an overarching organization made up of all North Carolina co-ops publishes a monthly magazine for it’s customers; it’s called Carolina Country.  They bill it as “North Carolina’s largest and most trusted magazine.”  As I said, about a year ago I was perusing it and noticed that each month they ran a first person human interest article under the general subject of “Where Life Takes Us.”  It struck me that perhaps the Pony’s story might be a fit for this category, and there was some incentive; the magazine indicated that it paid $100 for articles that are accepted for print in the magazine.

It was a challenge condensing the five-year-long Pony story down to the magazine’s 400 word limit.  Hell, each of these blog posts is around 1000 words.  But I massaged that thing for a few days until I had something I thought worth submitting, added a couple of appropriate photos and emailed everything in.  Like many things that I send away, my submission then seemed plunge into a black hole.  It was similar to the several times I’ve written to the president of our local hospital always with truly helpful suggestions (no, honestly), but never a peep out of the guy.  Anyway, months went by with no word about the story.  Maybe six months ago some guy at the magazine sent an email saying they might be interested in running my story.  But, apparently not…back into the black hole.

But several weeks ago another email, this time from a woman at the magazine saying that if I was still game, barring any “hiccups” they were going to included my story in the April issue.   I should just send “high resolution” photos and some personal details.  I’m not sure what hiccups are in the publishing business, but with my track record believe me, I was waiting for the hiccup.  Then this week, well, I’ll just show you.

Carolina Country Letter 2

Carolina Country letter-1 __________________________________________________________________

So, what are the impacts of this.  First, as Andy said, “Oh man, Dad’s going to be pretty hard to live with now that he’s a published author.”  Second, the Guinea Pig-O-Meter gets a $100 boost.  Third, I’m going to be looking for a way to monetize the blog.  Now that I’ve been paid for my writing, you don’t expect me to keep doing this for free do you?  And finally, now I am challenged to find other ways to see my words in print.  I guess that’s what next chapters are all about.

Here’s a link to the Carolina Country Magazine website, so that if you are so inclined you can view my little story about the Pony, my friends Gene and Lynne and me.  When you get to the site, just scroll down a bit and you’ll see the article.

I’d be remiss here not to mention my poor Mom, who fell last week and broke her hip and wrist.  She’s in rehab now, and I’ll be going down to spend a week with her next week.  We all wish you a speedy rehabilitation, Mom.  See you soon.

Happy Easter everyone and thanks for reading.