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Tales of a Hay Hauler: To my grandsons, and to yours

Brad Nelson Published on 30 May 2014

On a recent Sunday I was delayed being ready to leave church for home. My wife had missed meetings that day due to some form of the flu, so I opted to drive my 1979 Mazda RX-7 sports car to church.

My 12-year-old grandson chose to wait around for me so he could ride home in the little car.

He’s driven it around the yard before, so I sent him to fetch it and move it from the far end of the parking area to a spot right by the door of the church.

He came back on foot, telling me it was out of gas and would not start. It was not out of gas – he’d flooded it. The car does not have EFI (electronic fuel injection); it has a four-barrel Holley carburetor.

By the time I got to the car, he had run down the battery. We let it sit for the 10 minutes more I had to wait before we left, and then on the last oomph of the battery, it fired.

On the way home, I realized that my grandson did not understand how to start a vehicle with a carburetor, so I explained it to him. It will take more hands-and-feet-on coaching. Then I pondered a number of things I understood that he and my other grandsons probably do not understand.

1. Any firearm is always loaded. Even if you have personally opened the action and checked, you still handle and point that firearm as if it was loaded.

Most gun accidents involve firearms someone thought were unloaded. I think my grandsons understand this one, but someone out there may not have his mind completely around the concept.

2. When driving, understand the co-efficient of friction of what you are driving on. If you are descending a hill on an icy or snow-covered road, you may not have enough traction for the driven tires to hold you back to the speed you want to drive.

The usual response is to jam on the brakes, resulting in all four wheels sliding, and they will slide downhill and you will have an embarrassing phone call to make. Tire chains or waiting for better conditions would solve a problem here.

In any situation where your driven tires lose traction because the tire is moving faster than the surface you are driving on, you need to speed up the driven tires or very carefully slow down the other tires on your vehicle.

This includes when you are hot-dogging it on a dirt or gravel road to get the rear of the vehicle to drift. If you are a bit too aggressive on the throttle and feel like the vehicle is about to spin out, if you get completely off the throttle, it may still spin out, because now the loose gravel under the driven tires has the same effect when the driven tires abruptly slow as when they were moving too fast.

Treat this situation the same as any skid, which your hot-dogging has just become. Turn the steering wheels into the direction of the skid, and reduce throttle pressure until your driven tires are going the same speed as is the surface you are driving on.

If you lose it, this will be a more embarrassing phone call to make than the one from losing it on ice.

3. Life will be easier for you if all your friends and cohorts realize from the get-go you will never lie for them. Also remember, a friend who will lie for you will lie to you.

4. There are exceptions to the “Don’t make your mother cry” rule. Those will be tears of gratitude when she observes that you have made correct choices in life and have accomplished great personal triumphs.

5. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to be content with “decent” grades in school because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get them. This attitude will close doors of opportunity for you.

6. Years back, one of my trucking buddies confided in me that when he was going somewhere with his brother, his wife was always upset and concerned about him being gone and what mischief he might get into.

Then he said, “But when I’m going somewhere with you, she has no concerns like that.” Be the person who makes people comfortable when they know you will be with their family member on an outing.

7. Be able to answer in the affirmative when asked the question, “Are you in good company when you are alone?”

This isn’t all. It could fill a book. Young men, understand that those who really care for you realize they can spare you some heartache and misery if they can only get your attention.

A wise person will take the word of another that the stove is hot. Others have to blister their own hand to understand that the stove is hot.

Which one are you?  FG

"A wise person will take the word of another that the stove is hot. Others have to blister their own hand to understand that the stove is hot.” Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.