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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another story that doesn't have a real ending and then I have to go to work.

Oscar the bachelor farmer was a proud fellow. Now you wouldn't expect to see pride from a fellow with rusty old farm machinery in every fence row. That was part of his conceit. Somehow he had it in his head that he couldn't throw anything away and that someday each and every piece of junk farm machinery would be perfectly restored and put into a museum. Of course there is not and it is doubtful that there ever will be a Society For the Preservation of Mid-twentieth Century Farming Techniques.
To be fair Oscar's collection did go back to the turn of the century. The previous century. Somewhere in the pile was a McCormick reaper, a stationary baler, and an old horsedrawn road grader.
He did not see his 1946 Chevy truck or 1951 Studebaker as a rusting hulk that would never run again. He saw the 46 Chevy as useful truck that only needed a new axle and the Studebaker just need brakes. He would get to it next winter perhaps. After he fixed the barn so he would have a better shop.
He didn't spend that much time in his easy chair. If he did it was because he was doing important research on crops or looking at the for sale ads in the farm paper. He really didn't watch TV that much. Mostly because he was too cheap to buy cable, but he was always just about to go out and go to work.
The problem was that there was only one of him. His parents had been gone for a decade, he had no wife, there was no one to tell him what to do. To nag him into action. His brothers who lived in various cities and made much more money than him had comments every time they visited. These comments did not spur him to action.
"Why do you do some scraping? How can you live like this? This would be a beautiful place, you could have bed and breakfast and farm tours," these comments made him feel tight inside. There was a touch of simmering frustration in the depths of Oscar's soul.
The modern farming revolution had kind of passed him by. While the neighbors had either gotten big or quit Oscar had just kept going, His ground was not so good, there were  some major crop failures in the past that had taken all the spare cash plus added some debt. His rented ground had been bought up but the modern real estate speculator type of land lord and their first act had been to send that guy with the old tractors on down the road. It didn't matter that he had never missed a payment, he didn't have a shiny green tractor. He didn't fit into their idea of a successful farmer.
In a way they were right. He was not at all your modern successful farmer.
Oscar's farm kept getting smaller and with less income there was less chance of getting new equipment or getting more ground.
Oscar was the last of the old style farmer. The type that had a few chickens, a few cows, small fields, and old tractors.
He still had his pride and people didn't seem to realize that.
He was proud of his old Ford pickup. It was in nice shape. He was proud of his 1964 Studebaker cruiser. It was a bit rusty and smoked a lot, but it was in good shape mechanically. His house was old and needed some paint but it was clean inside. There were a few piles of magazines he needed to research, and there were some boxes of old tractor manuals and advertising brochures but those were essential to the restoration of his tractor projects. There were a few boxes of old toys but he was trying to collect some really good sturdy toys like he had when he was a kid. This modern plastic stuff really didn't teach kids anything.
He really planned on building an office in the back room. He was going to do that after getting a couple tractors rebuilt as he really needed a better baler tractor. He just never seemed to have the time.

2 comments:

  1. I like this bit. It reminds me of a character chart or something of the like. I do them sometimes for my characters. Basically sit down and write about all the different things about them and their opinions on things.

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  2. I was thinking of different interesting old fellows I've met. I sort of had a goal in mind and then ran out of time.
    Blogs tend to be about one's self. Do people read them really care what you think? Or do they want to read stories? I think people like stories. Or perhaps a combination.
    Thanks for your comment.
    I tend to be a bit stream of consciousness...

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