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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"A Junkyard, A Junkyard Dawg And A Junkyard Tractor!"

I believe the owner said it was a 1940 Ford, I believe!
About one month ago, my wife and I got a Sunday afternoon off from everything, so we decided to go for a ride. We had had so much wet and cold weather, but on this day it was positively beautiful, so we went out for a ride in the countryside.

A better description of our environment would be to call it a "bayouside!"

We took Louisiana highway 22 through Pontchatoula and Hammond and continued following the signs that said LA#22, but somehow we took the wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up following what we thought was the Amite River. It was a real strange mixture of nice homes, neo-south plantation styled homes and disheveled trailer homes and campsites.

Outhouses notwithstanding…

Well, I found this property that had all kinds of junk covered in high grass from old refrigerators, baby strollers, kitchen sinks and tractors! Therese didn't like the idea that I wanted to stop and sketch, at least, one of these rusted beauties. But I did, and this is my sketch of a Ford tractor circa 1940. It took me about twenty minutes to complete, but I later added the tone at a local restaurant to hide some of glaring mistakes.

The owner, figuring I was some sort of "revenuer," ( just kiddin' ) came out with his big shepherd to investigate my investigation of his rare collection. Feeding off my wife's anxieties, I hurried the big wheel and when the dog said "hello," I backed away from him only to twist my already sprained ankle,  and collapse in a muddy culvert. After apologizing for his dog's behavior, I showed the proprietor the reason for my impromptu and unannounced visit. He was impressed with my interpretation of his rusted beauty, not enough to buy it, but, from that point, all went quite well.

He had about four or so tractors that he swore would turn over from a battery jump and get right out to plowing the uh… bayou, I guess! The man told me the make and models of all four of the tractors that I could see half hidden in the tall grass. He was especially proud of his 1940 and 1952 Fords. I believe the one I sketched was one of those Fords. I thanked him for allowing me the time to sketch his tractor
( and, I thought to myself, for not shooting first and ask questions later! ) and asked him if I could photograph the others with my cellphone.

He agreed it was okay, I snapped a few quite hastily, hobbled back to the car, and split.

Driving away, I thought, "Ain't the backwoods of America, great… or what?"

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III