(with background music by the Louvin Brothers…appropriately enough because today’s is about tractors)
The First Time
She said the tractor was driving along the road. Not just anyroad, but a road nearly 30 miles from the Sheriff’s Office. She said the driver was weaving all over the road. She said he might be drunk. Thinking this might be a DUI with a fun little twist, but less than an hour from going off-duty, I jumped in the prowler and headed out.
I didn’t drive crazy. It wasn’t an accident. There were no shots fired or knives plunged into someone’s chest. Just a crazy farmer’s kid, driving drunk on Keystone Light or Boone’s Farm wine and taking Daddy’s tractor for a spin. But then our lady called back and said it was no longer on the road. Now the tractor was in a ditch. It was at a strange angle. It was running. The driver was no where to be seen. Maybe he was caught under the mowing deck.
Now I ran quick. Lights. Sirens in the intersections. Heart rate up a bit. Skin a bit sweaty. Got there as quickly as I could, thinking about first aid and compressions and rescue breaths and all that other first responder stuff.
Now…understand that I don’t know anything about tractors, or even farms. I grew up in the city. Milk and meat and corn all come from Safeway or Albertson’s, not Joe’s lower 40. But even with my limited farming experience, I can see the obvious.
The tractor was in the ditch. It was at an odd angle. It was running. But there was no mower deck and there were no left-over pieces of a farmer’s son.
And it sure as hell hadn’t been driving down the road. It had been there for a few hours at least, using the power drive on the back to run a pump that was pumping out flooded land.
Oh, yes, I had some choice words for our intrepid caller. See, frequently we have people sex up their calls to get us moving more quickly. Either she did that or she was a complete idiot with zero common sense.
Either way, I checked the area twice for dead or drunk people, found none, and went home.
The Second Time
Not my shift, but the same song, new verse.
The Third Time
The Fourth Time…Sixth Time
The Tenth Time…Twentieth Time…Four Hundred and Eighty Seventh Time
Ditto ditto ditto.
The Last Time
This time the call came through 911. It was sexed up again. Crashed and probably dead, with body parts probably everywhere and maybe drugs and probably even weapons of mass destruction!
My shift, but not my call.
Knowing what was what, because we’d done this 9,528 times, the responding deputy finished up something else first. The dispatcher, a part timer, got a little nervous and asked a couple times if he was going.
"Thirty miles to a call we’ve been on a hundred times?"
"But this is a different location."
True, but all the calls had been within a couple miles of each other.
After the deputy left, the dispatcher looked at me and said, "Well, if he is caught in the mower deck, we won’t need an ambulance by the time he gets there."
"We’ll need the coroner," I said.
"Hell, no, we’ll need a squeegy."
Hmmmm…that was much funnier in person than it is on the cyber page. Ah, well.
And just so you know, the guy wasn’t dead. In fact, there wasn’t even a guy. There was just a tractor…and a pump.
And an annoyed deputy.