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One Sunday afternoon when he was nine he began showing results of these training exercises. It was a raw March day, when snow had melted and soil just thawed, turning field beside house into icy clay gumbo. Which gumbo was several feet deep. Davie -- who by then had let us know that David, not Dave and never again Davie, was his name of choice -- David took truck out into middle of gumbo and deliberately mired it up to its hubcaps. All afternoon we'd hear truck roar and spin, roar and spin . . . a five-minute silence, then roar and spin, roar and spin. A miserable, cold, windy afternoon, and even David would be driven in to warm his freezing hands and get a drink of water.
David's reports were always cheerful. Early announcements explained how truly hopelessly mired he'd gotten truck. Later reports described efforts with chains, boards, and gunny sacks, all performed with his bare hands in freezing mud.
"It's halfway out!"
Much roaring from field.
"It's almost there, just a few more tries."
Sounds from field as of a truck in its last agonies.
"It's out! It's out! I got it out!"
A look at kitchen clock. "I guess I have time to get it stuck again before dark."
Go STEAMIN’ DOWN THE TRACKS WITH VIOLA HOCKENBERRY, a storytelling cookbook -- and find Montana country cooking, nostalgic stories, and gift ideas -- at Janette Blackwell’s Food and Fiction, http://foodandfiction.com/Entrance.html -- or visit her Delightful Food Directory, http://delightfulfood.com/main.html