… when you spend more time talking to him about his new Kimber than the hygenist spent cleaning your teeth.
I was travelling west on Highway 78 this past Saturday going through Washington, GA. Unlike all the hapless Georgia fans going to the slaughter in Athens, I had the good sense to stop at Mule Day at the Callaway Plantation. There’s a little bit of everything there – old mechanical things, things that go bang, animals, old architecture, and good food.
Here’s just a few pictures to give you a flavor of the day. Click to embiggen.
Revolutionary era backwoodsman firing a flintlock. This is the first picture I’ve ever been able to take this close to ignition. Normally there are two separate puffs of smoke floating off away from the rifle.
John Deere Model E Hit and Miss engine making ice cream. There was no hidden electric motor plugged into a wild currant bush ( sorry – old Euell Gibbons joke ) spinning the churn – it was being done as Mr. Deere intended it. And in case you were wondering, yes, the ice cream was excellent.
Allis Chalmers Model G. I thought the rear mounted engine was cool.
My dad has talked about plowing with mules when he was a teenager. I was hoping I’d have a chance to try this year and I did. The main thing to remember is to put as little lateral pressure as possible on the plow – it’s real easy to overcorrect. I did the math later and figured that you might be able to plow about 3 acres in a 12 hour day. The organizers brought over a John Deer Model B after we all had a chance to play and finished plowing lots faster than the mules were going. It helps you understand how easy it was for farmers in the 1920’s to decide to give up the mules and buy a tractor.
If you’re wondering about the guy holding the reins, let’s just say that the mules got a little skittish when the Confederate reenactors fired their cannon.
Sheep dog demonstration. They herd ducks as well.
Final picture of the day:
I was trying to get a close up of some of the harness on the mules from about 50 feet away. I didn’t notice until downloading the picture what was in the background. Yes, 20th century aviation technology that’s framed by important 19th century agricultural technology. I wouldn’t have been able to take that on purpose in a million years.
I’ve had a few craptastic bosses in my career. I remember all of the stupid things they did. I don’t plan to pay them back – I just want to make sure I never do any of them myself.
Fortunately for me, my current boss is not in this group. He’s a smart guy and quite funny at the same time.
As an example, I give you this:
If you step in a pile of sh*t, stop moving around.
SK – Some might say that people working in a “shadow economy” are part of the symptoms of an economic system breaking down.
MR – I have no idea if the economy is breaking down or just evolving, but regardless, low-paying, part-time and off-the-grid jobs are here to stay. We can either talk about these jobs with a measure of dignity and respect, or we can adapt your labeling system of “Bad, Unpleasant, Dangerous, Not-Worth-Having, and Hellish.” Honestly, I don’t see the point of attacking honest work under any circumstances (although the Futility Clause of the DJCC prohibits me from expecting a cogent reply from those who do.)
In the interest of full disclosure, my son has worked at a location featured on Dirty Jobs. He was happy to get the job and sorry when it ended.
And if the title was too subtle, I’ll let Jim explain.
As I get older, I find that my memory is like a trail of bread crumbs.
As an example, I’ve never been concious of my age. If someone asks me how old I am, I have to remember:
1) What year is it?
2) What’s today’s date?
3) Have I had my birthday yet? ( In an emergency, I can skip steps 2 and 3 and still be greater than 95% certain of getting the correct answer. )
4) What year was I born?
5) How to do the math. ( This step has gotten significantly harder moving into the 21st century. )
I’ve always been this way but it’s getting worse. I started to ask a friend a question this morning and drew a complete blank on his name. The only way that I could remember was to ask myself:
1) What’s his wife’s first name? ( It’s always been easier for me to remember a pretty girl’s name than the name of some baldheaded dude. )
2) What’s was her name before she married him? ( I’ve actually known her since before she could drive, him not so long. )
3) What’s her last name now?
4) Fill in the blanks – if his last name is ______, then his first name is _____.
I shared this with the lovely Mrs. Roscoe and she has kindly agreed to say, “Caw! Caw!” whenever she sees that someone has eaten some of my breadcrumbs. I’m so relieved.
Aesop had a really funny post wherein he … well, go read it yourself. I’ll wait.
Back? He managed to avoid a ticket through nerves of steel. I, on the other hand, used my pitifulness.
For a while I was driving a real beater, a 1981 Volvo 240 DL that had been rode hard and put up wet. While the engine and transmission were still clicking along at 200,000+ miles, the rest of the car was always questionable. You never knew what might fall off on any given day.
So I was leaving work one day with fifteen minutes to get to my destination. The only problem was that my destination was twenty minutes away. About 100 feet from the parking lot, I went over a railroad crossing and lost my muffler.
“WAUGHHHH”, said the Volvo, only louder. Great, I thought. At least the sound of me coming will be there on time.
Onward I sped in my tired, 20 year old Swedish steed to my rendezvous with destiny – in this case a ___ County Sheriff’s Deputy. She topped a hill and, while I might normally have slid past without a second glance, the awesome full throated roar of that 2.4 liter, unmuffled four cylinder engine kind of caught her attention. I was already pulling over before she finished her 180.
While I was waiting for her to pull up behind me, I had time to wonder if the proof of insurance card that had come in the mail two weeks earlier was still at home. I also had time to start adding up the potential fines I was looking at.
“Good evening, sir,” said the Deputy. “You seem to be in a hurry.”
“Yes, Officer, I was on my way to church and was running a little late.” I’m sure that she’d heard this one before but in my favor 1) it was about 6 p.m. on a Wednesday and 2) it was the truth.
“Let me see your license and proof of insurance.”
“Yes, Officer. Here’s my license.” I’d fished my wallet out while waiting for her to walk up. “My proof of insurance is in the glove compartment.”
I waited a few seconds for an “OK”. When it didn’t come, I slowly reached over to open the glove compartment – and the door came off in my hand.
It took me a second to decide what to do with the door. I almost handed it to the Deputy, thought better of that, and then dropped it in the passenger’s seat.
“It’ll just take a minute, Officer,” I said as I pulled out a big wad of papers from the glove compartment. It’s amazing how much paper a glove compartment can accumulate in a few months. Against all odds, the insurance receipt was near the top. “Hear you go, Officer,” I said smiling nervously and then froze. “Sorry, Officer, this one’s from last year.”
The Deputy said nothing. I redoubled my efforts to find the elusive insurance receipt and never once looked up at her. I figured that they’re trained to see the fear in your eyes and I didn’t want to give her a good angle.
Every time I’d come to another insurance receipt, I’d be relieved just long enough to realize that it wasn’t current, either. It only took about two minutes to go through the whole stack of receipts. For a brief moment, I didn’t know what to do. Handing the mass of papers to the Deputy seemed to be as bad an idea as handing her the glove compartment door so I did the only thing I could think of – I started looking through the stack again.
“I know it’s in here, Officer. I’m sure that it is.” What I was sure of was that it was at home and I was about to get a huge fine. That didn’t stop me from frantically flipping papers.
Just then I heard the Deputy say, “That’s ok. Why don’t you put it all away and go on to church. Just slow down.”
“Yes, Officer. Thank you, Officer,” I repeated over and over while trying to stuff that big wad of paper into a glove compartment that didn’t have a door.
I may not have nerves of steel, but somewhere there’s a Deputy who still gets a chuckle out of a poor pitiful fool in a Volvo.