Saturday, April 29, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 104th Installment

I started walking into the breeze again because I believed in that choice of direction. Then I saw it: a tiny spot of light in the graying horizon. The white–out was turning into night, and I realized the light was not the bright light you go into when you die, but the yard light of the Taylor Ranch. Yippee! I was thinking I could trot fairly fast to the ranch, get help and start a search for Russ and Max. In my haste I nearly jogged into the back of the pickup, and in it were Russ and Max. They bailed out and we had a jolly reunion, so emotional we hugged. I had only hugged a family member a couple of times in my entire life and had never hugged anyone else.

Chapter 29
Russ and I had interesting experiences in the winter growing up near the Arco desert. Cold was one thing I didn’t look forward to but we still had some fun times.

I never want to die in the cold,” I mused to myself. “I’d rather die in the snow plane.” The snow plane was something that really made our bellies tingle and our short hairs rise.

Anyway, the story begins with the Old Man and his old Indian Motorcycle that never ran. He wouldn’t let us work on it, something about not being able to get the parts anymore. One day while Vern was in Monteview searching for another hay bailer to part-out and keep his old bailer working, he came across a hand made snow plane. The man that owned it wanted too much money for it, so as the Old Man was leaving, the man shouted, “Do you have anything to trade for the plane?”

I need everything on my place to make a living except an old, broken-down Indian Motorcycle,” Vernon replied. He could see that struck a nerve--the guy wanted that Indian. They chatted a few minutes and the trade was made.

Russ and I loved that machine at first sight. We cleaned, greased and repaired every thing we could find that looked like it needed it. We drove three stakes in the ground and tied each ski to a stake. The engine was a five-cylinder air–cooled radial aircraft engine, the nameplate showing a Wright R–540 Whirlwind rated at 170 horsepower. The original owner had explained to the Old Man about the fuel and starting instructions, which were basically turning on the switch, shouting ‘contact,’ and giving the prop a smart pull. After a few pulls, it fired off and ran nicely, blowing everything behind it away in the wind. We grinned at each other, shut it off and prayed for snow. We even towed it to the seven acre flat by the hill and left it there to be ready at first snow.

The first snow came, and we were at the plane first thing. Russ took it in a circle around the field

500 more words tomorrow

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