Tuesday, August 15, 2017

WFW - Two miles from town

This weeks Words for Wednesday is again hosted by our good friend River over at Drifting through life. The purpose of the words is to encourage us to write, a story, a poem, or whatever comes to mind.

If you post an entry on your blog, drop by Rivers blog at Drifting through life and let her know so everyone can read it.

I'm going to continue a story that I started last week, if you missed it you can find it here Sitting on the window sill

This week's words are:
puffing, candles, confused, fishing, supreme, almost
eight, despicable, banner, shave, flowers, frowning

Two miles from town

Tammy found herself sitting on a small couch with her legs crossed, she was staring out of a window on the opposite wall, which was only about eight feet away, and outside this window all she could see was trees. This wasn't the house Todd had promised her, no electricity, a Coleman stove to cook on, and a lantern or candles for lights, somehow this wasn't her definition of a nice house.

Since coming here Todd had said how they didn't need anyone, he claimed they could live off the land. He told Tammy that she was nothing without him, he would have her walk with him down to the stream so she could haul water back to the trailer, but no matter how much she brought back there was never enough to bathe in. Todd hadn't had a shave and his scraggly beard gave him a look that scared her. He was supposedly fishing in this stream, but Tammy hadn't seen any fish caught yet.

Todd walked through the door and said, "I need to go into town and get some groceries Babe, want to come along?" Tammy tried to smile and answered "Sure, but Todd, this ain't what I thought it would be like." Todd smiled "Never is Tam, this place'll grow on you." She looked down towards the floor and quietly said, "It's not what you told me it was, I'm worried about Dad, I want to go home."

Todd just looked at her, the smile melted away from his face, Frowning he growled, "What do you mean you want to go home?" Then he screamed, "Hell we got it good here, nobody bothering us, after all I've done for you and now this." Confused Tammy shrank down into the little couch and tried to back away from his shouting, the spittle from his lips hit her in the face as he ranted.

"You're going to love it here Tam, I'll make damned sure of that!" Todd stormed out the door and as he placed a padlock into a hatch on the outside of the door, he growled through the window "I'm making sure that you stay inside until I get back, I can't believe you are doing this to me now!" huffing and puffing Todd jumped into his Nova and sped away throwing dirt and rocks into the air.

Tammy looked out the window on the door and didn't see any sign of Todd, she turned the knob and pushed the door, it rattled slightly but was stuck in place, she was trapped in what he had told her was "Paradise", she slid down the door and sat on the floor, she was going to have to think now...

It took a week for Tammy to come up with a good plan, a foolproof plan, at that...

Every time Todd left he always locked the door, leaving her trapped inside. All the windows were small and solid, but one behind the couch was a little loose, Tammy thought that she could squeeze through the opening if she could only get the window out, which she did.

Todd left for town and locked Tammy inside once again, "I'm going to the store to grab some things, why don't you rest up so we can have some fun when I get back" he said to her in a sickening sweet voice, Tammy smiled as he closed the door and pad locked it shut. He really thought he was some big time supreme thinker, just wait until he finds out how smart I really am, she thought. When the car drove away Tammy reached behind the couch and pulled the small pane of glass loose and dropped it to the ground.

She slipped behind the couch and stuck her legs through the window, it was a tight fit and the metal frame tore into the skin of her hips and back scratching her until she bled, she really thought she was in trouble when she found herself literally hanging out of the window with the metal frame digging in below her breasts, they were sore enough anyway and now her shirt was bunched up nearly wedging her into place, just then she heard Todd's car pulling up in front of the trailer.

Tammy placed both feet against the wall and pushed as hard as she could, with a loud rip her shirt tore loose and she fell to the ground landing on her back with her hands stretched out above her head, she could hear Todd's keys rattling as he opened the padlock.

Tammy ran around to the front and peered around the corner, as the door closed she could hear Todd calling her name as he walked down the hall towards the bedroom. She grabbed the padlock, slipped it into the hasp, and snapped it closed. Todd had even left his keys hanging in the lock.

As Tammy walked away she smiled, Todd was too big to slip through any of those windows. It may be a despicable thing to do but Tammy decided right then to forget completely about Todd and where he was located. A banner day for getting one over on hostage takers, she thought to herself, score one for the good guys, she threw his keys into the stream and grabbed herself a handful of wild flowers.

When she reached the blacktop she saw that she had a weak signal on her phone, there was a highway sign and another showing that she was only two miles from town. That little flutter she had noticed in her stomach was acting up again, it was kind of scary and comforting at the same time. She punched in her Dad's number.

Dan had been calling the sheriff's office and searching the area for Tammy almost everyday, He was about to give up hope, but decided to call them once again today to ask what they were doing to find his daughter, just as he picked up his cell phone it rang.

Hello this is Dan Hayes.....Tammy!.....

Monday, August 14, 2017

Will Cubby survive?

Monty had been here so long that nobody could remember when he arrived, but he was no longer getting things done. It was time to make some changes.

Monty was slipping, he was no longer cutting the mustard (so to say and literally) so to save him from further embarrassment Mr. Ward was forced into retirement, thus creating a new position that needed to be filled. After reviewing and looking at several possible replacements, a decision was finally made.

The replacement had a given name, but like Monty (who never used his full name), the new guy was also given a nick name. To my knowledge ever since he started taking care of the place he has always been known as Cubby. He came on the scene eleven years ago, and has always done a terrific job.

He began by clearing off two sections of the land, taking down weed, grass and mustard taller than he was. Poor ole Monty just couldn't do it anymore, he had let the land get away from him simply because he couldn't cut it anymore. Cubby stepped in and cleared all the mess in one day.

Cub Cadet garden tractor view of steering wheel and hood with gloved hand on wheel
Cubby at work
Cubby never failed to complete any task put in front of him, he pulled his weight and more. He was never asked to do more than was reasonably expected, and he always came out on top because he definitely mowed down the competition.

He was given everything that he needed. Cubby was provided with shelter from the elements, he was always cleaned up like new after every job, and allowed to cool down and rest, yes he had a comfortable place to live.

A few days ago Cubby was working in the field. He had not been at it long when suddenly something just didn't sound right, he began shaking and had an unusual sound coming from inside him, he completely shut down and came to a stop right there where he was working...

Now I have a decision to make, will Cubby make it or not? I am going to either have to rent a trailer to haul him to Riverside, CA which isn't really close but is the closest place that works on Cub Cadet Garden tractors, or I am going to have to force Cubby into retirement.

Jimmy driving a Cub Cadet garden tractor with his Daschund named Dixie riding on his lap
This is a picture of our little dog Dixie, she loves riding along on Cubby when we aren't working too hard. (This was back during my "show Cindy what's under my beard stage.")

I really don't want to lose Cubby, but John, Husky, and even some of Cubbys relatives along with several others are looking at taking over the job. Garden tractors can sure put on a show making themselves look good when the one you own has a problem.

So how expensive is this going to be, I think the PTO clutch is locked down which throws a safety switch which in turn stops the motor from running, and the transmission drive belt is cracking which is not an easy thing to get to.

The Cub Cadet manual has a section called "Replacing the Transmission belt" which only has one sentence underneath the title, "If Transmission drive line belt needs replaced, take to nearest Cub Cadet service center", I suppose that means I am not supposed to try and replace it myself.

Cub Cadet GT1554 sitting inside garage with hood raised
Cubby sitting broken down in the garage
I have removed Cubbys deck, and checked everything over, filters, oil, battery, and still the motor is not turning, so what do I do now? I either take it to the service center and see what they tell me, or I could go with a guy Cindy's Brother used to know that may have, or maybe used to have a lawn mower shop.

Even if I go with my first decision Cindy's Brother at least has a truck we can load Cubby onto, I say we load him onto the truck, then make a decision, beats renting a trailer anyways.

I still say a new tractor would be nice, but man Ole Cubby sure has been a good one.

Grandson Benjamin sitting on a toy John Deere tractor wearing his cowboy boots
Our Grandson Benjamin from a few years ago
I found this picture taken a few years back and I wonder if Benjamin might want to come work for his Papa until I get the tractor fixed?

Friday, August 11, 2017

I guess she wasn't

When I was a kid we did a lot of swimming. Not Olympic type swimming but a lot of splashing around in the lake, swimming in deep holes in the river, or building dams in a creek to make the water deep enough to play in.

We lived in a little town called Alexis, North Carolina for a short time. During the summer Mom would pack a picnic, load up an old crank ice cream freezer, rock salt, and ice, then we would go to a spot on the river. There we could swim, and while we were swimming one of us kids would take a turn at cranking the ice cream freezer for Mom. I'm still not sure how she pulled off keeping enough ice to make a batch of ice cream on the river during the hot summer in North Carolina, but Moms can do amazing things.

Anyways one of us kids would crank while everyone else swam, then when the one cranking got tired we would switch off, and when Mom said it was ready, that was always the best ice cream ever.

Swimming in the river was great; the water flowed really fast along the bank. I learned to dive into the swift moving water, and once in the flow I would hold my breath as I was taken under the water and swept along the edge of the bank, if I kept my arms pointed straight out above my head and kicked my feet just enough to stay upright, I could keep moving in the flow until the water ran into an open area of the river where the water slowed down, it felt like I was underwater for a really long time, and moved for an extremely long distance, it was quite the rush and was a long walk back to where Mom was making ice cream.

Young boy floating in water up to his chin, looking into camera with blue eyes.
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
Once I got really good at floating down the river my underwater swimming skills improved at the lake. I could swim underwater longer and further than anyone, all the kids were quite impressed with my swimming skills, it was good to be looked up to, king of swimming, and the guy to be with, a legend in my own mind as they say.

You all remember the pool that our daughter bought for Cindy's birthday, I'm happy to report that the mini pool is doing much better, now that it was upgraded to the bigger 10 ft pool and we added the pump and chlorine, we even added a cover to keep out all the unwanted stuff like leaves, bugs, and unidentifiable critters that crawl in the night.

Every morning I take the cover off, and turn the pump on, in the afternoon we float and talk, at night we cover it back up and make sure that I remember to shut the pump off. The water is still crystal clear and still inside the pool.

Thursday we weren't able to get our floating done until after supper, which was really nice. Cindy and I were talking about how much nicer the bigger pool was, when she said, "When it comes time to replace this one we will probably upgrade to one big enough to swim in."

In my mind I was immediately taken back to North Carolina, The banks of that river were curved not unlike our mini pool; I swam within the curves of that river, why can't I swim within the curves of the mini pool?

I said "This pool is big enough to swim in" Cindy laughed at me at which my response was to immediately bet her that I could do it, she said there was no way I had room, "I can swim completely around the edge, a complete circle, underwater even" I told her while holding my hand out expecting a shake, the only shake I got was her head.

I stood up and removed my fine straw hat, then my glasses, the pressure was on, I had opened my mouth. In my mind I went back to fifteen year old Jimmy figuring my approach into the swift moving water of the river.

Now I had to figure my approach into a 10 ft by 30 inch deep pool without hurting myself, we all know that you aren't supposed to do this so "Don't try this at home kids." And now I had to make a complete circle without stopping and stay underwater without drowning.

I found the swiftly moving water being blown into the pool by the pump; I made my mini dive in the mini pool and swam my way up against the wall and underneath the ring. I kicked my feet and kept my arms outstretched as I made my way around the pool, I passed the first pump inlet and prayed that I wouldn't be sucked up against the wall ruining my perfect style. Success, I made it past the first inlet, with that said I continued my stride past the second inlet and now I was half way around, it was pretty easy at this point, all I had to do was make it back to the swiftly moving water from the pump, just about that time I got a blast of water right into my right eye.

I had made it! One complete lap as I predicted, I just knew Cindy was going to be proud, she would be cheering and clapping, I would once again be king of swimming, the guy to be with, she was going to be as impressed as all the kids were with fifteen year old Jimmy.

But I guess she wasn't.

When I stood with both hands in the air like a champion, I look to Cindy and asked what she thought, she said, "I think it's time to put the cover on the pool".

I guess maybe fifteen year old Jimmy swimming the length of a river was more impressive than a man my age splashing around in a ten foot pool. Or maybe she was so impressed that she was at a loss for words...yeah I'm going with that one.