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Mortimer Snert and the Combine

It was an agricultural day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert arrived at the farm for his weekly visit. Now the farm was certainly a place that Mort did not really like to stay at for long, there was plenty of dirt, and pollen, and it was usually hot and windy and smelt bad. Mort visited once a week, and stayed a couple of hours, and went home to his air conditioned, not so dirty house.

Mort had had a nice visit, and was about to leave when his father started hem hawing around. This was not a good sign. This usually meant that there was some really unpleasant task to perform, or something had been worked on that really needed worked on now, or something similar. And this was coupled with the fact that Mort’s dad could not come right out and ask for help, he usually hinted around and waited for Mort to volunteer.

Well Mort was not in the volunteer business any more. Hadn’t been for years. Which was something that had escaped his dad’s notice. Finally the fatal question was asked. Do you reckon a feller could get the combine out of the barn. This brought chills to Mort’s spine. It was almost as bad as Can you help me put up the xmas tree.

Now this would probably be a good time to give some background on getting the combine out of the barn. First off, the barn was not really a barn, it was an implement shed. Made for small implements. The John Deere did not fit that category. The John Deere was, in fact, 4 feet wider than the door, and a good foot taller.

This posed a problem. Mort could not remember how or when they first put the John Deere in the shed. As far as he could remember, it had always been there. This was coupled with the fact that every piece of junk known to mankind was piled around the header. And it all had to be moved before the John Deere could be extracted. So the better part of the day was spent dragging all the crap out of the way.

Now we must point out that Mort was the one who got it in and out of the door, but Mort’s dad was the one who parked it where it ended up. Which was 2 inches away from the wall. Now that was all fine and dandy when you pulled it in, it could be positioned really closely, but the problem arose when you wanted to get it out, since it steered from the back, it was no easy task to get it away from the wall without hooking one of the millions of things that were suspended by bailing wire, or jamming the end of the sicle drive through the metal side of the barn. This, coupled with the fact that the John Deere was off centred from the door, and that the barn was maybe 10 feet longer than the combine was, made it an interesting task indeed.

So with a bunch of really careful manouvreing, Mort got it away from the wall, and centred in the doorway. Now to actually get the combine out of the door, he had to move it all the way over so the passengers side of it almost hit the side of the door. Then he would back up, and as soon as the back side of the header was about to hit the door, he would stand on the turning brake, crank the steering, and swing the other end of the header out, missing the other side of the door by fractions of an inch.

Now this, in itself would not be a bad manouvre, except for the height of the thing. Mort’s dad, the first time he had tried to extract it, had peeled the air conditioner and most of the top of the cab off on the door track.

This was not good.

So to facilitate the height of it, they would let the air out of the tires. Until they were about as flat as they would go. This would not be too bad either, except for the fact that the tires were filled with some god awful concoction of water and calcium and some other foul smelling chemical, and when you let the air out, you also let out the water. And once you got the air out, if you were not really careful, you would roll the now deflated tires off the rim, which usually resulted in the destruction of the tires, and damage to the rims.

So, bearing this all in mind, they started letting out the air. Now this whole time, Mort had been fighting the urge to turn on the air conditioning in the cab. Well, the urge overcame him, and he reached up and hit the fan. He was rewarded with a huge choking cloud of wheat dust that had been sitting there all winter molding and waiting for Mort to enjoy it’s wonderful fragrance.

So half the dirt went up Mort’s nose, and the other half headed straight for his contact lenses. So now he could neither see, nor breathe, and the air was escaping the tires, and he was about ready to back the thing out.

So it was, with a fair amount of assistance, that Mort actually got the John Deere out of the barn, with no damage to the air conditioner, or the door, or the tires, or the dog, which stood there yelling at Mort for moving the thing with flats. The exciting part of the whole thing now, was that Mort would get to repeat the process, except for putting it back in the barn in a couple of weeks. But that will be another story.