I'm tellin' ya, the older I get, the more it comes clawing to the surface and the more it manifests its self.
I did have real, live, Ozark Mountain HillBilly's in my family tree, I met some of 'em once.
My Mother and her side of the family were all from down South. Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, all over the damn place back there.
My Grandfather was from Tennessee and moved back there after my Grandmother died. He is buried back there somewhere now.
He is where I get this Tinkering gene from.
The man was a mechanical genius, natural born.
He built a portable Gold shaker once from scratch after seeing a picture of one in a magazine. It had a water pump on it and a motor driven shaking platform on it with two wheels and handles on it to roll it down by the creeks he used to work.
He was a Mill Wright by trade but he built houses from the dirt lot to the roof by himself in his spare time and then flipped them. I don't think there wasn't anything that man could not fix or get to run if it was supposed to.
I will never forget the time he drug home this old nasty and moss covered tractor that had been sitting out in field on the Oregon coast for years and years.
I mean this thing had an inch of moss on the engine cover, what was left of it.
He messed with that thing and messed with it for weeks. Tore the carburator off and rebuilt it and got the engine all cleaned up and ready to go but he just couldn't get any spark out of the magneto.
The man was the epitome of stubborn though.
One day he was working on that thing after Grandma had made one of her six course breakfasts she was so famous for and had cleaned up the kitchen. She had about an hour or so before she started in on Supper.
Ol' Grandpa yanked the magneto off that tractor and snuck in the kitchen with it when she was watching her soap operas or something because she most certainly didn't see him do it.
He turned the oven on low and stuck that magneto in there and run back outside real quick.
All was quiet for about an hour , he was out wrenching on the damn thing and Granny was watching her General Hospital or whatever it was.
Pretty soon she gets up and heads into the kitchen to start in again and notices the oven was on.
I was sitting at the table with my thumb up my ass as usual and she asks me why the oven is on.
I may be a lot of things but stupid aint one of 'em.
I told her I had no idea.
So she grabs an oven mitt and yanks the oven door open and The Shit, Hit The Fan.
She didin't know what it was but it damn sure didn't belong in her oven and she instinctively knew it had to be something off that tractor.
Now neither of my Grandparents EVER, cussed. They were Old School and that was just something you didn't do.
Except this day.
JACK JOHNSON! YOU GET IN HERE AND GET YOUR GOD DAMN TRACTOR PARTS OUT OF MY OVEN!!
I'm sure even the neighbors heard that one.
Oh she was hot man.
She is cussing and slamming shit down on the counters and pretty soon here comes Grandpa, like two seconds later.
He grabs her oven mitts and yanks that magneto out of the oven and takes off running before she even knew what had happened almost. That REALLY pissed her off, taking the oven mitts.
Now she is after his ass boy.
She has her rolling pin in her hand and is out the door after him.
He is busy juggling that hot magneto back and forth in his hands and here she comes.
He run around the back side of the tractor and she is out there yelling at him and waving that rolling pin around trying to get a shot at him.
He took off out back towards the shed but she was satisfied that he got the message and grabbed up her oven mitts, turned around and give a good glare in the direction he had fled and stormed back into the kitchen.
I was laughing so hard my sides hurt but I was well out of swinging distance too.
Pretty soon Grandpa pokes his head out of the shed to see if the coast is clear and runs over to the tractor and starts throwing that magneto back on.
I went back in the house and Granny was still fuming and banging the cookware around when all of a sudden I hear that tractor engine turning over and it fired up.
The old guy was pretty cagey about the whole thing but that did the trick.
It had gotten moisture in it from sitting out in the weather for all those years and he got it hot enough to dry it out.
I'll never forget that scene as long as I live.
So now you know, I was born and raised out here on the West Coast but I have HillBilly in my blood and it won't be denied.
So in Grandfathers honor, I went out and bought a piece of shit Walking Tractor, just like one of the several he had back in the day.
It's been sitting for so many years the damn wheels have rusted clear through and....
it has a magneto on it.
Now you know why that memory came flooding back after all these years.
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