Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Fourteen indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Commissioners donate to task force Voters return Worley to the bench Georgetown Police Department welcomes new officers Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber Meth makes a comeback The bomber crash of 1944 4-H holds ‘shootout’ with BCSO County jobless rate falls Russell K Wolfer SHAC recognizes volleyball all-stars SHAC cross country all-stars take home awards Eastern girls finish runner-up in SHAC golf standings Week 10 football roundup Kathleen J Bright Sister Marjean Clement Veterans Service Office Moves G’town FFA has great fair Bald Eagles spotted 2017 Celebration of Lights being planned Eight indicted by grand jury Carlos L Beck Georgetown XC teams qualify for regional championship meet Warriors advance to Div. II Regional Meet Lady Rockets reach end to successful volleyball season Week nine football roundup Lady Warriors regional bound Amy J Caudill Bertha Lindsey Bobby S Conley Body found in ditch, investigation underway Former Aberdeen Fiscal Officer pleads guilty Keeping kids safe on the school bus Mary E Hahn Gary R Cornette Week 8 football roundup Notable soccer season reaches end for G-Men Lady Broncos are SBAAC American Division XC champs SHAC XC title goes to Lady Warriors Arthur Smith Eugene M Jennings Jr Billy R Kilgore Sr Carol D Roberts Thelma L Gray Sheriff Ellis meets President Trump Quarter Auction to pay for fire engine restoration Upcoming Quarter Raffle, Oct. 14 to benefit PRC Man found dead in ditch Rev Alvin B Woodruff Jackson L Russell Lady Broncos bring home 11th SBAAC American Division title in 12 years Lady Rockets wrap up regular season Warriors rally for win Broncos make it two in a row Helen L Whalen Veterans saluted at the Brown County Fair Fayetteville cancels school after threat Tommy J Stamper Sue Day Broncos move closer to SBAAC American Division title Lady G-Men working hard, showing improvement Sports complex soon to open in Mt. Orab Week 6 football roundup H Ray Warnock Jennings faces multiple sex offenses Georgetown nears water system completion Bible Baptist Barbeque brings big crowd Linda Taylor Rene Sizemore-Dahlheimer Eugene Snider Eric Workman Gregory Terry Edith M Moore Eileen Womacks Michael C Jennings Janice K Brunner Cheer squads compete at ‘Little State Fair’ Truck, tractor pulls draw a crowd at Brown County Fair Week 5 football roundup Lady Broncos rise to 11-6 with win over Batavia

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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