The Pony and I had just returned from an ill-fated trip to town on the Thursday errands. I was standing in the kitchen, still in my town clothes, when the dogs went crazy. I attributed it to their delicious snack of bread soaked in chicken juice, and the chewable bones left from the previous day. Juno will shoot out of her house like a wily eel, to grab any morsels Jack has not yet hoovered off the porch boards. Juno also objects to Copper Jack eating the treats I toss to him behind her house. There's often a ruckus once I close the kitchen door.
"Um. There's a strange truck coming down the driveway," said my early warning system, The Pony.
"What do you mean? What does it look like?"
"It's a black truck. With a camper on the back, maybe..."
I went to the front door and stuck my head out. There was a man in a flannel shirt and jeans, with unkempt hair and a white beard, walking under the carport where SilverRedO would be parked, if Hick was ever home to protect his loving wife. Copper Jack was barking his fool head off. As if an air conditioner repairman had dared invade
"Hey, there. Is Hick home?"
"No. He had to take a friend to the emergency room."
"Oh. Hope it isn't anything serious."
"Well, she had a procedure at the hospital yesterday, and isn't feeling well today."
"That doesn't sound good. I was just hoping to find Hick. My tractor quit, and I thought he might know about it."
"Is it in the road? Can it wait? Because Hick IS really good with tractors, but I don't know when he'll be home."
"It's on my land, on the other side of the trees. I ran over a shoe. I don't know WHERE that came from. But now my tractor won't run."
"JACK! JACK! No, not you, little buddy. JACK! That big dog's name is Jack, and so is our little dog here." I patted my Jack's head as he stood with his front feet on my leg.
"MY name is Jack."
"Oh. Sorry. That dog isn't even ours. He barks at me like that, too. Well, I can give Hick a message that you came by, and about your tractor. Or I could give you his number."
"I might have it here. Or I could give you MY number to give him."
"Well, I don't have anything to write with, and I'm not smart enough to put it in my phone. I don't have it with me either."
"You know his number? [DUH] Go ahead and give that to me. Okay. I'll call him right now. That way the number will be in my phone."
So off went White Beard, walking back down Hick's brick sidewalk with his phone to his ear. I told The Pony it must be a pretty weak tractor, for a SHOE to make it stop running. I thought tractors were tougher than that. The Pony said he obviously meant a HORSESHOE. I disagreed. Any fool knows where a HORSESHOE comes from! Several people out here have horses, and ride them along the roads.
As much weirdo traffic as we've been getting, I almost suspect Hick of putting up one of those tear-off papers in the grocery store, for a Help-Me Man service.