This morning I should have been hailed a hero, but once again, things didn’t go in my favor.

Here’s what happened: It was late last night. I was trying to get the hand sewing finished on a quilt I needed to have done by the next day. I usually like to work late at night because there is no cooking to do or telephone to answer. That is why I was surprised when my cellphone sent a message at 12:30.

“The national weather service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Traill County. Hail and damaging winds are over the town of Finley and are expected to be in Mayville by 1 a.m.”

It was then that I realized that the pickup and the four wheeler were outside and near trees that should have come down sometime in the last century.

At the same time, I could hear my spouse softly snoring through the closed bedroom door.

I should wake him so he can get those vehicles inside,” I thought. “But I can do this. Why should I bother him?”

For most people, the decision to move the vehicles themselves would have been a no-brainer, but I have rarely driven the farm truck and I had never driven this four wheeler that had a sprayer mounted on the back.

Another drawback in my decision was that the two vehicles were parked in a very dark part of the yard and would have to be moved to a building in another dark part of the yard. As a bonus, important stuff had to be moved around in the receiving shed in order to get the truck and the four wheeler inside – stuff that couldn’t be scratched or dented without serious consequences.

I’m not a confident driver in the best of circumstances but trying to park a big, unfamiliar vehicle next to precious and expensive items, caused me to get out of the truck 20 times to just inch forward safely. So close were the rear view mirrors to other items in the shed, that the dust was brushed off of them.

The rush of victory for getting the first vehicle successfully moved was replaced by navigating back to the four wheeler in the dark. Flashes of lightening helped. Having had the brains to bring a flashlight would have helped even more.

When I got to the four wheeler, I felt along the side of the half door and could not find a handle. I pulled on the plastic door. I felt along the inside. Nothing.

It felt smooth across the entire surface.

The only option, it seemed, was to throw one leg over the top of the door in hopes of sliding over it onto the seat. This would have worked pretty well if I was six feet tall. As it was, one tennis shoe was pointed straight at the sky and the other was planted firmly on the ground. If there would have been more light and less pain, it would have made a mighty fine picture for next year’s Christmas letter.

As it was, I was in sort of a dilemma. It could be embarrassing to be found like this in the morning, but I couldn’t get enough momentum to catapult over the top. Divine intervention sent a clap of thunder and I suddenly found myself in the driver’s seat.

With a tenacity that would have impressed Helen Keller, I felt my way around the steering column and found the ignition. I never did find the switch for the lights, so in the dark I drove by memory until I saw the light I’d left on in the shed. Once there, I moved and inched everything around until I finally got everything in and shut the door. There was only a slight scratching sound as the door came to a complete close.

I was kind of smug about my accomplishments after getting back to the house. I finished my quilt and crawled into bed at 2:30 a.m.

I was not the first one up this morning. No ... when I got up, my husband (who had not been aware of the possibility of a storm in the night) had already panicked about the seeming theft of his pickup and four wheeler, the neighbors had already been called and warned about a possible theft in the neighborhood and the sheriff was being dialed.

If the hail had actually materialized last night and not passed us by, I would have been considered a hero for my thoughtfulness and quick action instead of being accused of Grand Theft Auto.

Doreen’s new book: Farmwife Diary: A Shared Experience (Selections from Four Decades of Columns in Farm & Ranch Guide) is now available on Amazon.com (ebook and paper­back).


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