Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances FP School Board changes millage funding formula Thirteen charged by Brown Co. Grand Jury Local athletes advance to track and field regionals SBAAC awards baseball, softball, boys track and field First Team all-stars SHAC awards baseball all-stars Lady Broncos finish as SW District Div. II runner-up Lady Warriors cap off season as SE District Div. III runner-up Impressive post-season tourney run reaches end for Lady Rockets Rose M Crone Thousands visit Traveling Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall Strategies discussed to join Maysville/Mason County KY with Brown Co. communities for economic growth Road and bridge work planned in county Linda M Lawson Margaret G Newkirk Gregory R Dunn Sandra L Haitz Wesley A Cooper Everette F Donell Lady Broncos move to SW District Div. II finals Lady Rockets top Cincy Christian 22-1 to earn berth in district finals Lady Warriors head to SE District Div. III finals with win over Gallia SW District Track and Field Tourney action gets underway Russell E Conn Robert T Fisher Philip L Paeltz David Beals Gregory A Smith II William G Mullinnix Patricia Ogden Brittany Stykes remembered by friends and family 2018 county budget could be cut by up to ten percent Georgetown Police Chief updates council Over 40 vendors, crafters at 2017 Annual Craft Show Cropper’s time as GHS girls basketball coach expected to end after 21 years at the helm Barnes’ perfect game and big hits lead Lady Broncos to round one sectional win Broncos advance in sectional play with win over Mt. Healthy Kenny B Williams Stephen E Marcum Christopher J Lovett Brandon M Traylor Gaslight renovations set to begin Ripley students view mock crash at school

The old grey Ford

I reached up and grabbed a hold of the steering wheel with my left hand as I stepped up and swung my right leg across the gear shift and leaned back into her seat. I felt a slight give as my full weight settled into the familiar curve.

I pulled the throttle down half way with my right hand, and with my left I reached around the cowling and turned the ignition key to the on position. I did not need to look. I felt the familiar click and new that I would have spark.

I was almost ready to fire her up, but first I pushed in the clutch with my left foot as I stood on the brake pedals with my right. I pulled the gear shifter towards me and made certain, with few flicks of my wrist, that she was in neutral, and only then did I reach down with my right hand to push solidly on the starter button.

The engine cranked over once, and then with a contented chortle, took to life. This old grey tractor never ceases to amaze me. Her paint might be chipped and faded, and a bit of rust shows through here and there. Her front grill is lopsided, the result of some ancient encounter, and her comfortable seat has a good sized tear up the middle, but her engine purrs like a kitten and her gears shift as though they were passing through butter. I could not love this old machine any more.

We sat there and idled for a while. I looked up at the blue sky overhead. I could see a few buzzards circling high over the creek valley closer to the river, and then, foot firmly on the clutch, I pushed midway down on the gear shift and slid her into second gear. I engaged the bush hog blade, set the deck at a good height, and headed out into the garden jungle.

Wisps of dill and lemon basil mingled beautifully with the hearty odors of tractor grease. Rotted pumpkin and huge zucchini, that had escaped my jungle forages, popped like small firecrackers under the tractor’s tires, and slowly, row by row, the jungle was tamed.

Pass by pass, what had been my humiliation of a once perfect garden gone wild, was laid to rest. And even when I was finished, I continued to make more passes, letting the churning bush hog blade make absolutely certain that no aberrant stalks still stood.

Finally, I pulled off to the side and stopped under the shade of the big oak tree. I put the tractor in neutral and idled her down as I disengaged the bush hog blades. We sat there, and I thought. I imagined the tractor looking with her bug eyes, out across the garden field, as I leaned forward and put my elbows on her steering wheel, my chin resting on the backs of my hands.

Surely this had been an exceptionally wet year. Cultivating had been impossible, and even weeding by hand had been a nightmare. It was simply too wet to walk out into the garden, and the weed stalks had grown as thick as my thumb while the root crops had rotted away.

But as I sat in the shade of the tree, I grew excited about my next gardening season. We will till six foot aisles, separated by grass strips that Greg can mow with the zero turn. I will ride the setter and plant two rows down each six foot isle, one aisle for tomatoes, another for dill and fennel, others for peppers, squash, potatoes, and carrots and herbs. The six foot aisles of crops will still be wide enough that if the weather and ground allow, we can run the little Cub with the cultivators up and down the rows, but if the weather and ground do not allow, I can still stand in the grassy strips and reach out to hoe and even harvest my crops.

So next year I will have the perfect garden, but no matter what the season brings, I know that I will be able to count on the old grey Ford. I know that she will always fire right up, and be ready to till, to plant, and even to bush hog.

Oh my gosh! I just realized that this old tractor could not really be all that old. She was only built in 1956, and I date back to 1954. Imagine that. Perhaps that is why we share such a special affinity.

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2016 News Democrat