A young farm girl learns
the fine art of lining up
a wagon tongue with
a tractor’s towing hitch,
dropping in a bolt, securing it
with a cotter key.
She learns to watch gates
while the tractor chugs through,
hauling the wagon
to drop off hog troughs,
she keeps porkers away
from the gate and escaping.
She learns to wear a shower cap
while painting her inventor-father’s
winter projects, a pig feeder,
a gravity wagon, lest she ride
to school with barn-red
paint in her hair.
To scrape mud from
cultivator shovels while
Dad is in for noon dinner,
which she had stirred
the gravy for and made from scratch
his favorite spice cake.
I recognize that Farmall! And I still use a cotter key to pull implements with my little Deere!
What fun! I wonder how soon someone will ask what’s a cotter key.
I love your poem, particularly how it ends with the spice cake. I remember cotter pins from when I was growing up. My dad and my brother used them in various tinkering capacities that I don’t remember now!
Thank you, Liz. I was surprised when that term even emerged in my memory, but turned into fun memories.
You’re welcome, Joy. I didn’t know that cotter pins were in my memory either!
Love it. You brought back muscle memory for a wagon tongue, cotter key for the pin and avoid pinching your fingers on top and bottom while holding. You brought back dinner smell. Muscle memory and smell of scrapping off moist soil from cultivator shovels.
Hmm, sounds like you’ve got memoirs to write! Let’s hope so!