TV notwithstanding, that
old guy must be dead by
now - for sure. And that's
too bad. All those memories
and that attitude just gone.
I would have liked spending
more time with him, straightening
out some ideas and presumptions,Permalink
getting his take on various things.
The modern world, in so many
ways, is just another fiction,
and it always seemed to me that
he was a good representation of
the basis of what all had gone
before. I don't know about wartime
and all that - I was told that most
of these old guys had gotten
agricultural exemptions. So, I
guess they were needed and those
sorts of exemptions were pretty
prevalent then. Being always
just outside of things, I miss the
old days just for what they presented
to me, not for what they were. The
ability to be with, and talk with,
such men of esteem, had a value
of the type which can't be priced
today. Everything now, by contrast
gets so quickly ephemeral and
without meaning. That TV throws
no heat at all. It's cheap, and it's
Warren had a pear tree in his yard.
I'd never seen one before. Beneath
it, just off to the side, was his gas
tank. Each of these farms had their
own, one or two, 50 or 100 gallon,
gasoline tanks. A truck would come
by, every so often, and fill them, just
like heating oil to the house. Because
of the tractors and agricultural
equipment, and of course the cars
and trucks, there was always a need
for gasoline. It was like having your
own little gas-station right there.
They had hand pumps and a big
fill-tube and handle. Sometimes it
was just a gravel spot, others were
paved concrete and really made nicely.
Some, yes, were just mudded ruts. It
all depended. I always wanted one
at my house, but never had the need,
plus I most often used his. It was one
of the perks. Warren had this old,
ratty, rumply, '52 Chevy pick-up that
I just loved. Three speed, column off
the floor. Just all utility. Bouncy ride,
old straw-filled seats. Man, I loved
driving that truck. I used to take it,
filled with milk cans, the five or six
miles each day to the creamery down
by Rt. 14. They take the filled-up
milk cans, and you get replacement
ones for the next day's delivery. It
was part of the routine. Heavy, milk-
filled cans in, rattly, empty cans out.
About 12 or 14 of them. Some mornings
there'd be a line-up of trucks maybe 7
or 8 deep, already in line. It all depended.
I'd just get at the end of the line and wait.
People, milled around, standing. The
farmers there got paid, monthly, by
the volume of their milk, and the butterfat
content, or whatever it was. The Jersey
cows (the brown ones) had richer milk
than the black and white Holsteins.
Most of the farmers, Warren included,
were heavy into Holsteins, and they just
kept a few Jerseys around for the better
butterfat content. It sort of increased
the value of their load just a bit.
I'd run around with that truck, just to
realize the ruggedness of its old nature.
It was fairly primitive, bounced hard,
shifted tough and ran really heady. But
probably if I could have switched all of
my other possessions for it, I would have.
Cool thing was, it was for all practical
purposes mine anyway. There was
nothing like it and it's against that
vehicle still to this day pretty much
what I gauge the feel and performance
of any other vehicle I drive.
What are dreams made off, people ask?
It's a stupid question; they're made of
nothing, they're dreams. It's only when
can realize something of one within
yourself, or in the reality of the world
around you, that you realize that, yes,
no matter how stupid, there really is
an answer. It's the answer of the ages,
some high-stepping and self-evident
sense of goodness that comes from
being present at the creation, of
something. The fact of there being
a Summer-long pear tree, right there,
in Warren's side-yard, by the barn and
things, was amazing. Like a dream now.
It was always filled around with bees.
Buzzing bees - they loved the nectar.
The pears were, once ripe, always good.
The ones not gouged and tunneled by
bees, if you could find enough to make
sense of, were the best. Chilled or warm.
I liked them chilled myself, but there'd
never been anything like that in my
time before. I was in the midst of so
much raw and real stuff it was
incredible. It was all as if I'd
entered the realm of another
life entire, or another way of life
I'd never quite knew existed before.
No one had ever told me of it, except
in kid's story books - the elementary
school kind, where there were always
some chickens pecking near the fence
and a barn in the background and some
stupid smiling cow with a straw-hatted
and freckled farmer and a cute little kid
running around him. Farm-yard fantasy
stuff yielded nothing except the ongoing
picture about an 'America' that no longer
existed. That may have been, by these
propogandistic methods of those who
simply pushed the ideas they were
promoting : 'make automatons out of
the people, make them think of nothing
but the real, erase everything else into
memory only, and let them listen but to
us.' That was all of it, summed up. But this
pear tree and gas-pump stuff disproved all
that for me and made me, once more,
realize that the world around me was the
world I imagined and the world that existed,
all together and at the very same time.
Northern fruits from the source,
and raw milk, chilled, from the barrel.
What more could one have wanted?