The tractor is not running.
Last week, during all those balmy days that were perfect for taking a walker stroll around Hunt Valley Town Center, the tractor was running like a charm. Smooth as silk. Of course. John had put on a new ignition coil, distributor cap, rotor, points, and spark plug wires. (I don’t know what any of that is–I’m just quoting what he wrote on Facebook.) He even put on the snow blade. Every day he took ol’ Betsy (Betsy???) out for some light exercise. Everyday she purred her way around Maywood.
This morning, a dusting of snow coats the pavement. The wind is whistling a cold song through the trees. And Betsy will not turn over. I don’t blame her. She’s 60. Who wouldn’t rather sleep in on a cold breezy morning? But she’s more predictable than Punxsatawny Phil. When will winter begin? When the tractor won’t start. When will it end? When the tractor gets fixed.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“It’s too cold,” John replies. “The starter won’t turn over.”
“Maybe you need a new starter motor,” I suggest. Now, I know almost zilch about auto mechanics, but over the years I have learned that starters have motors and that they sometimes die.
John doesn’t think it’s the starter motor. “I just put one on. Remember? That big snow in ’95?”
I do not remember.
“And I had to drive to Lancaster to get the part?”
Oh, now I remember. It was one of those monster snow storms that had us snowbound at the end of Miller Lane for days and we were drinking raw milk from Vernon Foster’s cows while the county brought in front-end loaders to clear the road. It was the storm where WJZ came back in 4 wheel drive to interview us for the evening news–the last house in Baltimore County to get plowed out. John drove to Lancaster in eight inches of snow in the middle of that storm to get a part for the tractor.
“John, that was seventeen years ago.”
“It could be the starter motor.”
“I guess it could.”
So, for all of you people who are desperate for a snow day, this is your chance. Light your snow candles, put your pj’s on backwards, throw those ice cubes out the window, flush the toilets at 9 pm, and do your homework. You have from now until John gets a new starter motor to work your snow magic. Betsy is doing her part. Now it’s up to you.