In a Sow’s Ear 12-28-09 |

In a Sow’s Ear 12-28-09

Little Northrup of the Bar-B-S Ranch is only 7 years old, but he’s a machinery addict. He loves oversized equipment, especially any rig that whistles, beeps, toots, squawks, belches or grunts. Northrup spends hours managing his extensive collection of toy backhoes, cement trucks, dirt movers, snowplows, tractors – you name it. He has developed a tsunami repertoire of “back-up” noises to use with various machines as well as animals around the ranch.

For example, when he saddles up Backhoe (his pony), he utters a throaty “Erk, erk” as he swings aboard. If he is instructed to bring in the milk cow, he uses a tweeting sound – a little like a chickadee on steroids. To call Shep, the border collie, means between-the-teeth short whistles spaced a little apart, after the manner of Morse code dit-dats. Just walking along the path to the barn evokes a clucking-clicking sound which Northrup claims is his “safety-walk-warning” noise.

Recently, Little Northrup accompanied Gramma to the city. They picked up some feed at the feedstore. As Gramma drove, Northrup guided the entrance and exit of the pickup onto the parking lot with a series of high-pitched yips. He maintained his attention to safety when Gramma drove to the furniture store for that lamp she meant for Northrup’s mom. He continued sounding off when they visited the saddle shop where Gramma bought a horse-halter for Northrup’s dad.

Northrup, aside from his ongoing odd-sounds serenade, remained patient because Gramma had promised him a trip to a machinery store. At long last she pulled into the parking lot of the John Deere tractor company. The salesman who approached recognized a fellow lover of big macho machines and for the next hour, Northrup climbed into the cabs and onto the seats of tractors, backhoes, swathers and balers. The salesman (it was a slow sales day) let him hear the back-up beeps on every outfit. Little Northrup was in hog heaven.

Before heading home, Gramma stopped at the super-duper supermarket. She filled a cart with supplies. Northrup trailed after her practicing the new sounds he’d learned at the John Deere establishment.

Gramma pushed her cart into a checkout aisle behind a woman. As she began to place a jar of pickles on the counter, the jar slipped from her grasp.

“Oh! Oh, dear me,” she exclaimed and began shuffling backwards away from broken glass, skidding pickles and a pungent odor.

Little Northrup shouted, “Look out Gramma! She’s backing up! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP! BE-BEEP!”

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