OK, there really is only one tiller in this tale. It has had many lives, but I exaggerated because I liked the sound of the title. Here’s the tale of “one tiller with many adventures.” See that’s not nearly as catchy or inviting. But here goes:
Long ago, when we moved into the first house we built and had our first baby, it was our good fortune to have an older couple living behind us. They were encouragers, role models, and surrogate grandparents, and we were blessed to have them as neighbors.
They shared the lot next to them with the homeowners on the other side, and together they made a garden on the empty lot each year. They came from farming families, and raised quite a bit of produce each season. In the spring our neighbor would get out his tiller and plow the ground, the first of many steps in making his garden grow.
We watched and learned for many years, until he became sick with cancer and no longer spent those countless hours hoeing and picking. His wife offered his well-worn tiller to us after his death. We could only hope to use it to produce a small portion of the bounty he had gathered through the years.
The truth is we have never had a garden. But we have used the tiller in countless ways. We have cleared plots for landscaping at one home, a wood fence at another, and other planting projects here and there. At our cabin we removed landscaping timbers and used the tiller to smooth out the walls of raised dirt left behind.
Now that we are selling the cabin, it is time to clean out what we no longer need. My husband could think of many uses for the tiller, but it is old, and quite frankly, he is tired of hauling it around. So last weekend we decided to haul it and a few other things to the local dump.
On our way there, at the second stop sign, I said, “Why do I keep hearing a little beep-beep horn honking?” After my husband looked in the rearview mirror he proceeded through the intersection and pulled over on the side of the road.
Sure enough a man behind us also pulled over, hopped out of his car, and asked if we were taking our truckload to the dump. When we answered yes, he asked if he could have – you guessed it – the tiller. Yes, the root-tangled and rusty tiller caught his eye and had him chasing us down the road.
His son is in a high school shop class and gets extra credit for bringing in items in need of repair. Well, the tiller would be perfect for that. Several other items in our truck (not all broken machinery) caught his eye, and he asked politely if he could add to his collection. We were glad to get rid of things no matter where they ended up. In fact it was nice to think that some of these things could have another life.
(The one thing I had waffled on taking to the dump was a wicker chair – it was coming unraveled but had the potential to be pretty again with the proper care. He showed no interest in that.)
So we proceeded on to the dump with just a few cast-offs remaining. I texted the excitement to our children – ending with “only in Pickwick are you likely to be stopped by a ‘picker’ on your way to the dump.”
Too bad we will never know the rest of the tiller tale.