Michael D Karos Jr John H Kirk Janet R Meyer Patsy A Clark Dorothy J Schroeder Broncos trample the G-Men, 73-40 Rockets down the Devils, 59-55 Seven new inductees to enter WBHS Sports Hall of Fame Lady Warriors ascend to 13-1 Broncos finish 2nd of 22 teams in Hammer and Anvil Invitational Hedwig Lambert Billie G Walkup Some county offices may be moved G’town Council approves 2017 budget Family doubles in size with adoption Sardinia Mayor looks forward to 2017 2017 Fayetteville Firemen’s Festival set Floyd Newberry Jr Donna F Lang Gene Warren Dwight L Fulton Virginia A O’Neil Anne L Durbin-Thomas Marietta Dunn Charles L Latchford Broncos win ‘Battle of 32’ Lady Broncos claim win over Bethel-Tate Jays top Warriors, fall to Mustangs Lady Warriors claim top spot in SHAC with win over Lynchburg-Clay Broncos buck the Lions, 54-51 James N DeHaas Questions still linger in Stuart explosion New direction for Brittany Stykes case New public safety director now on duty in Brown Co. Fayetteville Mayor anticipates a good year for the village Chamber of Commerce announces awardees Robert Bechdolt Carl E Lindsey Audrey F Maher LeJeune Howser Tammy L Connor Henry C Mayhall Jr Chad Spilker Frank W Kemmeter Jr Wanda J Howard Dorothy Huff Colon C Malott Eastern varsity teams come out on top to capture Brown County Holiday Classic crowns WBHS Army JROTC hosts rifle shooting competition Bronco varsity wrestling team unbeaten at 8-0 Blue Jays finish 1-1 in Ripley Pepsi Classic Mona G Van Vooren Hiram Beardsworth Avery W McCleese Ethel E Long Children learn safety from ‘Officer Phil’ Microchips can help locate lost pets Local GOP plans trip to Washington Three sentenced in common pleas Estel Earhart Roy Stewart Tenacious ‘D’ leads Lady Jays to victory over Blanchester on day one of Ripley Pepsi Classic Fayetteville’s Thompson, Jester earn SWOFCA All-City honors Jays fall to Blanchester on first day of Pepsi Classic Ticket details announced for OHSAA basketball and wrestling state tournaments Jerri K McKenzie Randy D Vaughn Georgetown JR/SR high to have new library Georgetown saw many improvements in 2016 Three sentenced in common pleas court Esther O Brown G-Men go on scoring rampage for 77-41 win over Cardinals Warriors climb to 4-2 with wins over West Union, Lynchburg Rockets top Whiteoak for first win Shirley M Bray Carter Lumber closes in G’town Wenstrup looks forward to 2017 Seven indicted by county grand jury John Ruthven holds pre-Christmas Open House New pet boarding facility now open in Georgetown Denver W Emmons Carl W Liebig Mary L McKinley Blake C Roush Louis A Koewler William D Cornetet Western Brown dedicates Perry Ogden Court Lady Warrior win streak hits 5 Lady Rockets wrap up tough week on the hardwood Barons rally for win over Broncos Georgetown to hire two paid Firefighter/EMT’s Noble receives statewide law enforcement award County helps family in need after house fire Flashing signs banned in G’town historic district ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ at Gaslight Thelma L Ernst Roy L Bruce Ken Leimberger Cathye J Bunthoff Lending a holiday helping hand

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