I have this one shirt, out of a closet full, that I really like. It’s nothing fancy, but when I see it, it always sparks memories. Those memories go back to my grandfather, Theron Lewis. These were early memories, because he passed away when I was 6 years old, only a couple of months into my first grade year.
He always wore blue work shirts to the cow lot to feed and milk. He wore those shirts to do carpentry work in when he was building a house for someone. But what I most remember is he wore one when he went to the field to plow and plant. He would take me along and hold me on his lap as he made those long rows, back and forth on that little Allis Chalmers tractor. Of course I was usually asleep within minutes, secure in his arms. He would finally get around to a place where he would hand me off to MawMaw so she could set in the shade and hold me while I finished my nap.
Back to the shirts; I’m not sure what the fabric was called, but it was a faded blue. The shirts had 2 pockets. I have a shirt just like those he wore, or at least very close to them.
I was just sick one day when I noticed it had a small spot down on the tummy portion. It looks like it got hit with a tiny splash of bleach. Madeline has crowned me the King of Bleach for this household. I have to admit I will whip out a jug of bleach and start cleaning on something in a heartbeat. Many of my clothes have bleached spots on them.
But Lord, why this shirt. My favorite shirt.
Well I’ll tell you what. I still wear it and just overlook that tiny spot. I pretend it’s not there. So if you ever see me and I’ve got this light blue faded shirt on, just look down a little left of my belly button and you too can see “the spot”.
I don’t think a tiny bleach spot would have caused PawPaw to throw away a good shirt.
As a side note about this tractor: Kenny and I headed up the road from the river one day. Kenny was about age 12 and was driving. I was probably 10 and was standing on the drawbar, holding on for dear life. He had it in high gear and it stalled out as we started up a hill.
The tractor had a crank up at the very front that you used to started it with. Kenny got off to crank it and he had me to sit in the seat and push in on the brake and hold it to keep it from rolling backwards. I was so short that I had to slide almost completely out of the seat to push the brake.
What we hadn’t considered that the tractor was still in gear as he pulled the crank over. It was a good starting little tractor, so as soon he pulled the crank the tractor started and lunged forward and knocked Kenny to the ground. I knew enough to keep the brakes pushed in all the way, which caused the front wheels of the tractor to jump off the ground and slam back down in rapid succession. Kenny was rolling around on the ground, attempting to keep from getting trounced by those front wheels.
It all happened so fast I’m not sure if the tractor died or one of us were able to cut it off.
We made sure it was in neutral the next time we started it.
2 thoughts on “The Shirt and The Tractor”
I too had a bunch of those blue shirts…wore them year round as an over shirt to my standard white undershirt. I continued wearing them as I left private land surveying and entered the engineering department of Travis County. As I started with the County they assigned me a drafting table to work on during bad weather days or when the Survey Crew supervisor was compiling historical documents,previous field notes etc.for the next survey project.
One day another full time draftsman asked if my blue shirt was the only one I had..I replied that I had a closet with another 6 to 8 of them. Later after thinking upon his question that he might have implied that I wore the same shirt everyday.
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Something tells me most of our ancestors had far fewer shirts and trousers in their closets than we all do.