Nebraska Center for Writers

by Roger Welsch

A funny thing happened to me once on my way home from vacation. I pulled into my driveway after a long, long drive with a carload of annoying children and a snarly wife ... not my current one, I hasten to note...and pulled myself painfully out of the pilot's seat of our van. Mostly just to stretch a bit and catch a moment away from this moment of familial bonding, I limped around the house to the front to see if any mail or messages had found their way to our door. A yellow, official looking form was taped to our front door. Hmmm ... I took it down and read it. I read it again. I shook my head to clear my eyes, and I read it yet again. No, I was not mistaken. Yes, I had read the notice correctly: My lawn had been condemned. The yellow form on my door said I had six days to remove all "worthless vegetation" from my yard or the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, would do it for me. And charge me for the favor. The notice was clearly official, and it was signed by the City of Lincoln Weed Inspector and Grand Inquisitor. Worthless vegetation, he said ... I looked around my suburban yard. What on earth could he mean by "worthless vegetation?" I saw daylilies, lambs quarter, dandelions, oxalis, shepherd's purse, nut grass ... all edible ... all in constant use in our kitchen ... nope ... nothing worthless there.

Reprinted with permission
from Weed 'em and Reap
Copyright © 2006
by Roger Welsch

by Roger Welsch

ONE DAY, shortly after acquiring The Fantasizer and facing some maintenance work on Sweet Allis, I was up in the town tavern talking with my auto body repairman buddy Dennis "Bondo" Adams. "Well," I said, "I think I'll go down and get started working on the tractor."
"Oh, Rog," he gasped in mock horror (or maybe even real horror). "You're not going to to to tinker, are you?"
And for a year that's about what I did tinker. But somewhere along the line I mentioned in my humor column in the Nebraska Farmer that I had a couple Allis WCs and was enjoying tinkering on them. A kind old gent not far from here wrote to me that he had an old Allis WC and if I was interested, he might be willing to sell it. I probably wouldn't have been very excited about the idea — the old-iron bug still hadn't bitten me hard — but for two things he wrote in his letter: he said 1) he had bought the tractor new in 1935, so I would be the second owner, and 2) it had been sitting untouched in a shed for over twenty years.
I asked Bondo if he could bring his big trailer and go with me to take a look at this machine, and he said he would. We found the farmer and went out in his yard to open that dusty old shed. We almost had to dismantle the door because it hadn't been opened in decades. "Look her over and see if it's something you'd be interested in," the old-timer offered.
Of course, there was nothing I could do from that moment on; one of my daughters is adopted and I still laugh when I remember the day we went to pick her up as a baby at the orphanage. "Would you like to take a look at this baby and decide if she's what you want?" the social worker asked. Jeez, how can you look at a baby and say no?! Well, same way with an old tractor.

Reprinted with permission
from Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them:
How to Keep Your Tractors Happy
and Your Family Running
Copyright © 1995
by Roger Welsch
Motorbooks International

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