This is a true story, the first true story I have ever told……..that’s right for all you people wondering I’m actually a 16 year old girl with a vivid imagination…oops that’s not tonight’s story I’ll save that for another day
First off I’m not sure how this will turn out, guess it will come down to whether I can transfer what actually happened into words and keep it as comically ridiculous as it was for us. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and we had been drinking most of the afternoon so of course we were in a fit state to be doing what we did and make rational decisions at the same time.
“Hey Larry, can I drive the ute around the paddock?” Seven year old Alex asked his father.
We’d spent the morning rebuilding the back patio, and the Toyota Landcruiser ute was sitting just beyond where we sat on the finished patio drinking beer. There was Larry, Curly and Moe…not that’s right, despite our actions sometimes we weren’t The Three Stooges. There was Larry, the home owner and father of Alex, Rodney, from next door and father of me, and me, Steve, son of Rodney. Both Rodney and I were a little hesitant about Alex taking the ute down the paddock, it had nothing to do with the fact that he was only seven years old and all to do with the fact that we’d been using the ute tub to toss all our empties in and without it we’d need to get a bin.
Truth was we live in the country and at seven years old it wasn’t Alex’s first time behind the wheel, the kid had actually had his own motorbike and chainsaw since his second birthday, so driving the ute wasn’t an issue.
“Yes son, providing you go and get another three beers out of the fridge.” Larry replied to his son before turning to us and adding, “Eh, what damage can he do, there’s nothing in the paddock to hit.”
Neither Rodney or myself made mention of the little Toyota Hiace mini bus parked near the gate growing weeds in its interior, or the dirt ramps we’d made with the bulldozer so that Alex had a motorcycle track and we certainly didn’t mention the dam that was in the bottom right hand corner of the paddock, what was the point Larry knew they were all there.
As Alex climbed into the driver’s seat of the ute three more empty beer cans floated into the tub and landed with a rattle. As the diesel engine kicked into life, the little shit always over revved the engine by putting his foot on the pedal to start it which he didn’t need to do, we all opened our newly delivered beers and lit smokes.
To his credit Alex drove very sedately down the hill and towards the gate, no silliness, no wheel spins and no loss of control. When he opened the gate by nudging it with the bull bar until it was out of the way Larry was heard saying, “That’s why we put the fucking thing on the front of it!”
So off Alex went driving around the paddock, locked in high four wheel drive and punting himself around the motorbike track we’d made for him several years prior. At the same time we drank beer and watched him. He drove around nicely, no silly behaviour and no dangerous manoeuvrers unlike many of the idiots more than double his age who thought driving a car on the road as like driving on a race track.
It was while the three of us were off watering the lemon tree that we heard the engine revving louder than usual, it still wasn’t a dangerous or even crazy revving just a revving faster than usual. As we rounded the corner of the house we saw why.
Standing on the running board beside the open drivers door Alex called out as soon as he saw us come into view. “Hey Larry, the fucking ute’s stuck.” He’d driven off the edge of the track a little too far.
“So what! Put it in low range and rock it our of there, you know how to do it.”
”I already did that.”
”Well do it again. You got the fucker stuck, you get it out.”
We watched from the top of the hill as Alex got back in and proved his father wrong by doing exactly as he was asked and not moving the ute out of the bog hole.
“Hey Steve, grab the Ferg and we’ll go down and get him out.”
As I disappeared into the shed to get the old grey Massie Ferguson, beer in one hand lit smoke in the other Larry and Rodney made their way on foot down to the bogged ute. A few minutes later I reversed up to the ute and we were attaching a chain from the truck between the bullbar and the back of the tractor. Now the old grey Ferg wasn’t a big tractor by any means but it did have grunt and it did have good tyres so dragging the ute out SHOULD have been easy.
But of course that didn’t take into account Murphy’s Law, damn that Murphy must have been a bastard!
So with the ute in gear and Larry in the driver’s seat gently applying power to all four wheels I took up the slack in the chain and tried to pull the ute out of the bog hole it was stuck in. Of course Murphy was not playing our game and the old grey Ferg just didn’t have the guts to drag the ute out which was now bogged up to it’s axles. Not only that as the Ferg slipped sideways it fell off the solid dirt of the motorbike track and the left wheel dug itself into the wet mud.
All manner of curse words flew through the air at that point as we all drained our stubbies and assessed the situation, then laughter took over. Here we were, one four wheel drive bogged up to it’s axles and one tractor not powerful enough to pull itself out of the mud, and worst of all we’d run out of beer.
“I’ll go and get Alan’s tractor,” Larry said after a few minutes thought. Alan’s tractor was a big one, 150 horsepower, four wheel drive and plenty of low down grunt, he lived only ten minutes walk along the creek and wouldn’t think twice about lending us his tractor. So while Larry went off to get the tractor we made Alex get us some more beer.
Thirty minutes later we had the Toyota ute chained to the old grey Ferg, the old grey Ferg chained to the Kubota and we were ready to tow both bogged units out to freedom. Then that fucking Murphy had to visit again and sure enough forty minutes later we had one ute and two tractors bogged.
Well there was no way were were going to let the mud get the better of us, we’d had too many beers for that. So next we got the manual hoist crane, a manual winch for recovering 4wd’s from the mud. With several lengths of chain and cable we connected the Kubota through the manual hoist and straight to the power pole on the far side of the dam.
Two hours later all three vehicles were out of the mud and parked at near the house and we were parked back on the patio beers in hand and watching the sun go down. It wasn’t until the end of our first recovery beer that Rodney pointed out the blindingly obvious angle of the power pole which was mysteriously leaning in the direction of the three vacant bog holes.
Twenty or so years later the bush fires of Black Saturday 2009 took the house, took the shed, took the trees and took just about everything else on the property but like some sick joke left to remind us of just one of our sillier moments the power pole still stands, connected to the grid and leaning towards the north.