Thursday, December 24, 2015


UPS truck stuck in lane

Mike and I have been in town all month. I haven’t done a thing toward preparing the farmhouse, the one in 2015, for Christmas. As I write this, a new slimline “pencil” tree, unlit, sits in the livingroom. Tonight maybe I’ll pretend I’m Ina and decorate my tree. Or maybe I’m too tired. Need a little Christmas? Light candles.

Neighbor Pete comes to the rescue with his old tractor
Anyway, Mike and I dined with Ken and Ginny at Meriwether’s in the Lewiston Red Lion last night. We had hoped to find some Christmas atmosphere, but the main diningroom was surprisingly un-Christmas-like – not so much as a wreath, a tree, or a table decoration in view. The meal and the associations were great, and that’s what’s important.

So, today – Christmas Eve – we decided to load up and head out to the farm – the same place where Ina and Jack lived in 1931.

Gilbert Grade was slick. As we arrived on top, Mike commented that his knuckles were white. Angling back over to our place, we could see the road had been plowed prior to the last snowstorm and someone had driven in as far as the neighbor’s. Fearing what might lie ahead, we stopped and chained up above Plank’s Pitch. It was hard on Mike who feels the cold in his hands these days, but he got it done.

We got as far as mid-lane – just past the “pine-apple” grove – before the Dakota bogged down in the snow. We let the dogs out, gathered a few things, and set out for the house on foot.

Pulling truck onto road backwards
Just then I heard the approach of a vehicle – UPS. “No!” I yelled; “go back.” Mike waved frantically. The driver stopped where the gate posts are. We feared it was too late, but the driver had yet to realize his plight. Mike walked down and accepted the package, and the driver returned to his truck. He tried to back out, but it was useless. Mike and I kept walking toward the house, and the poor guy may have thought we were abandoning him, but we had to get tools in order to help him.

Tractor stalls on Plank's Pitch
Mike grabbed shovels and headed back while I put on waterproof boots and texted Hallie about this remarkable situation. (Hey! I have my priorities.) She reminded me to take pictures, so when I got to the Dakota, I crawled in and found the camera, taking the pictures you see here.

Pete plows Plank's driveway for turn-around
Mike and the UPS guy were unable to free the truck, so the driver asked if we knew someone with a tractor. Yes, said Mike, and sent me to call Neighbor Pete. We try not to bother Pete, but this was different. However, I had to walk back to the farmyard and higher ground in order for the call to go through.

"Give 'er hell! You can do it! But it didn't happen.
“Oh!” said Pete’s wife, “I’ll send Pete right over with the tractor.” I thought she sounded rather happy about it, like maybe she welcomed this opportunity for Pete to get out of the house. And by the time I trudged back down to the culvert, Pete and the tractor were in sight.

Discussion ensued among the menfolk. Pete wasn’t sure the old tractor was equal to the job, but long story short, he pulled the UPS truck all the way up Plank’s Pitch.

The driver said he had no difficulties prior to driving our road, but other roads here receive better winter maintenance. He said he’d had enough and was going back to town without attempting further deliveries.

Old tractor pulls UPS truck -- "I think I can."
As Pete and the UPS truck disappeared at the top of the Pitch, we turned to walk back to the farmhouse. Mike said he was all for leaving and going back to town. I would have been fine with that, but just then the tractor reappeared, and Pete insisted on plowing the lane for us, which he did.
"I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could."

The problem is compounded by soft ground under the snow. It’s supposed to turn cold, and Mike and Pete agreed that it would be better if it did. Meanwhile, anyone coming here can probably get in – if it doesn’t snow again. Might be slick, though. KW


Hallie said...

The UPS man learned an important lesson that day.

Joanne said...

Chuck says that he remembers when he and Vance used to hook up the old D2 tractor to the pickup and pull it clear out to the Curfman place in about three feet of snow. He says, "Then we would drive the tractor back to the barn; then have to walk all the way back to where the pickup was."

Kathy said...

Joanne -- These little comments from Chuck mean a lot. I think sometimes people don't realize that they don't have to be able to write paragraphs in order to share glimpses of how life was managed back in the day. And sometimes we think we don't remember anything, but these stories serve as reminders to what we've forgotten.