A few weeks ago, we took a trip to my Grandparents home in Stuben County, NY. Since they moved here in 1980, we have all called it "the farm." It is a 200 year old dairy farm, the house of which they have lovingly restored. They had chickens at one time but they are now content with their two cats, numerous deer, skunks, raccoons and the occasional black bear.
My parents, Roy, the baby and I all went for lunch and some fun. We arrived to the sound of a chain saw and soon Dad and Roy were helping Grandpa saw huge logs into chunks that he could later run through the wood splitter. They still heat with wood, and only wood, during the cold winter months.
While they were getting dirty and sawdust covered, I spent some alone time in the woods gathering pine cones for Christmas decoration and taking pictures around the pond and the pine trees. The acreage is massive and they use a small tractor, a 4-wheeler and a golf cart to get around the property when needed.
The golf cart is fun. Very, very fun. We all love to drive it and we are all guilty of going too fast, taking turns too sharp and getting into the field areas where the water pools. Grandma is very particular about her golf cart. She is particular about pretty much everything and is a total control freak, like my mother, and like me. A nice family trait. So every time, we get some instructions - " Don't go in the low part of the spruce filed, it's muddy. Don't try to take the path in the woods, it's steep and the breaks are not great. Don't go too fast and stay out of where there is water and ........"
And it is always the same with us - "OK Grandma." And Mom and I take off, me driving, going way too fast, on trails that we should not be on and having a great time. You always feel a little bad when Grandma secretly inspects the golf cart when you get back and she thinks you are not looking.
But you get that scarce feeling of getting away with something.
I took the golf cart out myself doing my alone time and I spent a great deal of time cruising around all areas of the property. They used to have a very large Christmas tree plantation so there are rows upon rows of tree now much too tall and bushy to cut and sell. Fields and woods - with trails kept up and some that are grown over. I don't know what came over me but I decided to be a little reckless and take the upper field path by the big pines, despite warnings of mud and wet areas on the trail.
Yes, as you are probably thinking, I did get stuck. In the mud. And I was wearing flip flops. At this point I had two options. I could walk back to the house and admit that I got stuck somewhere that I should not have been in the first place and have Grandpa come tow me out with the tractor. This would incur the full wrath of Grandma and I did not want to make her upset. Option two was to get out and push.
I chose option two.
So in flip flops and cropped jeans and nice white t-shirt with a little lamb on it, I pushed the red golf cart as hard as I could. This is not as easy as it sounds, if it might sound the least bit easy to you. This particular golf cart operates by pressing down on the gas pedal and when you let up, it automatically stops running so there is no neutral. You can not physically push it. So I had to figure out some way of holding the pedal down and pushing at the same time. This was resolved with a big rock.
With rock on pedal and my flip flops in the mud, I push and got all splattered with mud and dirty water and it finally came free. Now I had the problem of a golf cart taking off without anyone steering it since the rock was still on the pedal. Imagine me trying to run in mud covered flip flops through a field trying to catch a red and white runaway golf cart which is now covered in mud up to the wheel wells.
I caught it and stopped it and wondered how I would explain this.
I stopped at the pond and cleaned off my feet and shoes but I had no way of cleaning off the cart. Driving it into the pond was NOT an option and I did not have a bucket. What to do.....
Go as fast as possible down the road and hope the mud flies off.
This worked, kind of, and I was able to pull the cart into the driveway and say "Well, I hit a little muddy spot and it got a little dirty but I will make sure it is cleaned off."
Grandma was not happy but she didn’t say anything bad. Mom just looked at me and tried not to laugh as she could see the side and butt of my jeans were muddy and wet.
Now comes the part where you feel bad. I wanted to clean the golf cart. To restore it to its spotless glory. But Grandma does not have an outdoor water faucet or a hose. They never got around to installing one on the house of the barn so I was left to figure out how I might get water and clean this thing off.
But then a light bulb came on. I recruited Mom and the baby. I had mom distract Grandma while I went into the wood shed (which Grandma probably wanted to take me out behind) and got a big yellow pail. I hoped it was not the bird food pail or the cat litter scooping pail, since Grandma has all her pails lined up, according to size and purpose.
By this time it was time to help Grandpa and Dad carry the small row boat up to the pond of the summer season and this distracted Grandma long enough to get myself, Mom and baby in the golf cart and take off to the pond. We took the shortcut through the woods and parked on the edge of the pond, partially hidden by the trees. I jumped out and left Mom holding the baby on the cart while I carefully scooped up bucketfuls of pond water and tossed them on the wheels, cleaning them of mud and clumps of grass roots.
This was working pretty well and I had one side sparkling and half of the other side pretty clean. But it still needed a few buckets full. Mom was still sitting on the cart holding the little man on the still-dirty side and I had another big bucket ready to splash on the wheel when we heard people coming. It was Grandma and Roy and I was about to be caught. I knew she would be mad, even though I was doing my best to clean off the cart. I had “borrowed” a bucket that probably was not supposed to be used for water hauling and it was just another situation that I wanted to avoid. So I freaked in the middle of the throwing of the water and it went everywhere but on the muddy wheel. In fact, it went all over the back of Mom, soaking her shorts. It missed the baby, fortunately and he just sat there looking bored. Mom let out a muted scream and the jig was up. Grandma was there and we were caught.
I said “I think it is time to fess-up.”
I was laughing because it was actually pretty funny and Mom was laughing and Roy and Grandma were looking at us like we were crazy. Why was Mom all wet? Why was I laughing uncontrollably?
I explained what I was doing and what happened and why Mom was soaked and I went back to the pond to get another bucket full because I was bound and determined to get that damn golf cart clean if it was the last thing I did. And it very well might have been.
I dropped the bucket.
In the pond.
I was laughing so hard I almost fell in the pond. I ended up calf deep in dirty pond water. Everyone else was thinking this was pretty funny at this point and I went to get an oar from the boat to fish the bucket out of the pond. I retrieved the bucket, finished cleaning off the cart and scared all the fish pretty good.
I stated then and there that I never wanted to get anywhere near that golf cart ever again and I made Roy drive it back to the barn. I walked with Mom in her wet shorts and a baby that was still looking bored and confused. Then I spent the rest of our visit apologizing to Grandma and hoping that she wasn’t too mad at me.
I managed to laugh hysterically, feel really naughty and guilty, and have a great afternoon all in one day. And, the view is to die for:
But I do not think we will be invited back (exaggerating here). And I know for a fact that I will never ride that golf cart ever again.