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Tales of a Hay Hauler: Numbers game

Brad Nelson Published on 30 June 2010

1 The number of women I have been married to. I intend to keep this one forever. Among other things, I’m too old to start breaking in another one. Number One tells me I’m so set in my ways that another one would not want me anyway.

2 The times my son Dan out-shot me at a sanctioned handgun silhouette match. The first time it happened I told him to walk home. In thirty seconds he had five offers of a ride home that included stopping for ice cream on the way.

5 The number of children we have.

6 The number of publications I have written for to date.

7 The number of trucks larger than a 1-ton I’ve owned. A 1958 Ford C-600 tilt cab, with the 332 cubic inch “Y” block V-8 engine, 5-speed transmission and two-speed axle. This truck was followed by a 1964 F-800 Ford tractor with a 391 cubic inch V-8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, a close-ratio 5-speed transmission and 2-speed rear axle. Next was the Arkansas Traveler, a 1962 Freightliner with the Cummins 220 engine, 5-speed main transmission and 4-speed “Brownie.” This is the one that threw an 18-inch flame from the exhaust stack when it was pulling hard.

A 1968 Mack cab-over with the 250-horse Mack thermodyne engine and Mack’s 13-speed triplex transmission. This was without question the nicest shifting transmission I ever owned. Another Freightliner followed this, a 1971 model with the V-903 engine and ten-speed transmission. The memories of this truck are as pleasant as remembering the three weeks I spent in bed with my foot elevated after stepping on a rusty nail. And finally, the 1973 Freightliner that kept me company the final 13 years of my hay hauling career. It had the turbocharged 903 engine, and became a real truck when I transplanted in a Cummins NTC 400 engine and 9-speed overdrive transmission.

9 Grandchildren. So far (hint, hint). Had I known how much fun the grandchildren are, we would have had them first. Nine is also the number of fingers I have left.

38 The number of cars and pick-ups I have ever owned.

40 When I used to think “middle age” began.

44 (Magnum). One of my favorite revolver cartridges. Years back, I was offered a Ruger Super Blackhawk revolver in like new condition for a too-good-to-be-true price. This was the blue-finished model with the 10.5-inch barrel. The previous owner had to sell it. When he purchased it he took his wife with him to try it out. After awhile the young wife just had to try shooting it. She bent her elbows and pulled the revolver closer to her than was prudent, and when she finally jerked the trigger, the barrel of the revolver flew up and smacked her on the top of the forehead, causing her to collapse. He was able to rescue the gun as his bride collapsed at his feet on the ground. Need I say more?

46 As in 1946. This was a good year. I was born that year.

53 My first car was a 1953 Mercury. Memories of this car are as pleasant as my last two-week episode with the gout.

59 My second car was a 1959 Volkswagen bug. Black. Some of my children do not believe I could ever get in one. I got it stuck in the mud once. I got out, took hold of the rear bumper and got it to bouncing, then on the “up” bounce, I jerked up and over on the bumper and got the rear tires on fresh footing. I got back in and drove away.

60 The real start of middle age.  PD