November 27, 2019

Out of Gas

By John & Joan Maxwell
Cinnamon Ridge Farms

“You ran out of gas?!?!” My distant cousin Margo gaped at me in bewilderment.

I had been hauling a load of hay from our farm near Princeton to the home dairy near Walcott when, without warning, our 1958 Chevrolet Apache sputtered to a halt. In true farm truck form, of course, the Apache’s gas gauge had stopped working long ago. Normally, we erred on the side of caution and filled her up. But in my haste to get the hay home on that chilly day, I hadn’t filled the tank before I left home.

So, there I was—a teenaged farm kid, old truck, no gas, huge load of hay—stranded on a country road. Then I realized the gravel drive a few hundred yards away was Margo’s. Though I knew Margo and I were related, I couldn’t quite remember how, and we’d never interacted before. My younger self wasn’t nearly as outgoing as I am now, and as I trudged up the road, the ramshackle farmstead gave me an eerie feeling. But, the prospect of walking the two miles home in the cold and the inevitable stern lecture from my father helped me steel my nerves. I approached the home of my eccentric farmer relative. Opening the squeaky front gate, I made sure to latch it behind me as I saw many livestock animals roaming the front yard. The rickety porch steps creaked under my feet. Once at the top, I had to reach across a chasm to knock at the door, as the steps had been rooted away from the foundation by the pigs. After a few long moments, Margo opened the door, and the German Shepherd at her side “greeted” me with a snarl.

After her initial startled reaction to my predicament, Margo was very kind and quickly agreed to give me some gas to get home. We made our way to a building behind the house, following the path around various implements and vehicles that seemed to have not moved in decades – one car even had a large tree growing through it! On our way we encountered an extremely friendly pig. Margo informed me she called him

Mr. Pig, and that he was her pet. As we hand pumped the gas out of the 55-gallon barrel into an old lard container, Margo and I chatted about our families. She rummaged around in the building and found a wax-lined feed sack we used as a funnel. Soon the old truck roared back to life. I expressed my gratitude and resumed my journey home.

Years later, Margo passed away. Having no close relatives, she willed her 320-acre farm to the German Shepherd, Calamity Jane, and Mr. Pig. All told, the pair inherited over $600,000, earning them mention in many newspapers and in-jokes on late-night television. The pets lived well on their inheritance, and upon their passing, the remainder was donated to the Humane Society.

Make sure to fill up your gas tank and come visit the Cinnamon Ridge Country Cupboard, located just North of Donahue. Make your selection of beef, cheese, eggs, honey, and baked goods fresh from our farm. You’ll be able to taste the difference! Our products are also available at North Scott Foods, I-80 Truck Plaza, and The Machine Shed Restaurant.

Filed Under: History, Humor