Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Gail and the boys and I went to visit my Dad in Maine this Weekend. He has a good size piece of property and has quickly assumed many of the trappings of country life. On his property their are 4 structures, a house with a beautiful wrap around porch. The porch is littered with old window sills, ladders jacks, empty flower pots and all sorts of other miscellaneous stuff. Next to the house is a shed, it is a mini replica of the house sans the porch. Siding, shutters, shape, it is really quite a attractive. About fifty yards from the shed is what my Dad calls the boat house. He built it to look like a covered bridge. It definitely did until the blue tarps went up on either end and old lumber and scraps of metal began to pile up on either side. Finally there is a building which Dad calls the lean-to. It stores more old windows and pieces of wood, and laminate beams. And again more stuff piled around it. Behind the boathouse is a firepit. The area behind all the structures is open field. Do you have the picture in your head? Wait just to fill it in a little bit more there are a couple of dog's running around. There are also a couple of kids darting in and out of the picture. My boys are shirtless, one wearing camouflage shorts and the other camouflage pants
My Dad has become a redneck. (As have I by association to both my father and sons) I use that term with the utmost affection.
One of the highlights of our trips to Maine is my Dad's truck. He actually has two, the big one is the cool one though. It is a V10 four-wheel drive monster. I didn't even know they made such a thing as a V10. My Dad will sit Jake or Jared on his lap, behind the wheel of this beast and let them "drive" the truck through the fields. Jared got to go first this time. Dad and Jared circled the wet fields just fine; mud spraying out of the back tires. Jake sat as patiently by as any 6 year old could, hooting and hollering, both in applause of his younger brother's performance and in anticipation of his own turn.
Finally, the truck came to a stop and Jared descended from the cab, grinning from ear to ear. In one fluid motion, Jake was up and in the truck on my Dad's lap ready to go. Dad and Jake took off around the property. You could hear Jake laughing and giggling over the sounds of the truck lurching and tires churning. They were coming to the end of their ride when the truck found some really wet ground. Mud flew everywere. The truck came to a halt. You could see my Dad talking to Jake but couldn't really hear what he was saying. I could tell by watching my Dad, he was engaging the 4-wheel drive. They hit the gas more mud, more tires spinning. Dad put Jake in the passenger's seat, things were getting serious now. He started trying to rock the truck back and forth. There wasn't much rocking going on, just sinking. You could actually see the truck sink into soft muck.
We tried everything. We dug. We put old roofing shingles under the tires. (Of course, there happened to be some old roofing shingles in the lean-to.) My sister's boyfriend and I tried to push. Both of us wearing sandals and shin deep in mud, quite the sight to behold. We brought the little truck over and attached a chain to the big truck and tried to yank it out. Nothing... but more mud and spinning tires...Both trucks sinkning further into the mud. Fortunately, we were able to extricate the little truck but the beast was still stuck. My Dad stopped and said this isn't working and went into the house. He returned and told us he called for help.
About 10 minutes later, the most rugged ol' 1 ton truck you could imagine pulls down the dirt road. An older guy in a tank top and mesh trucker's cap (the authentic kind, that let you know that this guy actually drove a piece of heavy equipment at one time, not the Ashton Kuchar poser kind) emerged from the cab. He and my Dad shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. I was watching from a distance, trying to keep the boys from either being run over by a truck or sinking into the mire. My Dad and his friend walked around the truck, surveying the situation. The older guy was now in the mud and muck right next to my Dad. They conferred for few seconds and then set about connecting the ol' 1 ton to my Dad's very stuck truck. They each climbed into their repsective vehicles, my Dad gave the thumb's up to signal he was ready. Both slowly and cautiously step on the accelerators. The forward truck pulled away...my Dad's truck still stuck. The chain connecting the two vehicles had come loose. After some quick reconnecting and tugging to double-check the chain's connection, both men climbed back into the trucks. The 1-ton pulled away, the chain went taught, Dad jumped on the accelerator of his truck and both vehicles pulled forward onto dry ground.
Everyone cheered and clapped as both men got out of the trucks. Dad and his friend exchanged a few more words, put the chains away and the man in the tank top and mesh trucker's hat drove away. My Dad returned to us, all smiles and proceeded to tell us all about the guy who just dragged him out of the mud onto solid ground.
I witnessed something this weekend that had a holy feel to it; a redemptive quality about it.