Word Pearls: The sweet smell of diesel

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:12 am

I love the smell of diesel fuel, a characteristic trait I developed as a kid while riding side-saddle with my Dad, tending the farm with our little red Farmall tractor!

It’s a smell you never forget; the sweet smell of strength, industrialism, productiveness ... the qualities which I associate with my Dad, one of the two hardest working men I have ever known.

The other (hardest working man) is my wonderful husband. What my Dad did for me as a child, my husband does today, providing for my every need and exemplifying godly leadership which is a privilege and honor to follow. Having absolutely no interests or hobbies other than reading, my husband eats, sleeps and breathes ... work.

Sometimes he allows me the joy of working alongside him. Those times, which include the smell of diesel fuel, are my favorite because it means we are operating the massive piece of yellow equipment with the silhouette of a dinosaur — a Ford 555 back-hoe loader-tractor — I nicknamed Fred!

In machine years, Fred’s no young buck. He’s 31 and he looks his age, like he was run hard and put up wet! And he requires major maintenance to keep up what looks he does have. But if you keep the fluids pumped in, the tires pumped up and the diesel fuel running through his veins ... he will not let you down. Unless, that is, you happen to be standing in his 3-in-1 bucket and the operator lowers you up or down, according to the task at hand.

That’s what my wonderful husband was doing — standing in the 3-in-1 bucket — during a recent work project, and I (Yippee-Kayay!!!) was the operator! Talk about awesome ... operating this ‘bad boy’ makes operating a lawn mower about as exciting as cutting paper dolls with a pair of kindergarten scissors ... boringgggggg!

In the past, I have been allowed to raise the bucket and the backhoe up and down. I’ve also been allowed to sit in the driver’s seat — just never while the machine was moving. But this time, I was allowed the ultimate ... I was allowed to drive it forward, raise and lower the bucket, the backhoe and the stabilizers ... all at the same time. Well, not ALL at the same time — that would spell catastrophe. But at the times when they (the parts) were separately and/or interchangeably required to be manipulated. But you really don’t operate a piece of equipment of that stature. It operates you. You just listen to what it tells you to do and then you do it. It demands respect and attention, like the drill sergeant with the buzz cut screaming at you at the top of its lungs “Ten-hut!” “About Face!” “Forward March!”

And if you don’t obey, you get pulled out of ranks and told to do push-ups, or worse, you get sent home on dishonorable discharge, head hung low from shame and humiliation that you let a little ol’ officer (piece of equipment) get the best of you!

But the absolute most important aspect of operating such a monster is — by all means necessary — the avoidance of intoxication on the sweet smell of diesel fumes!


Donna Clements is a professional writer and motivator. You may reach Donna by phoning 252-326-9194 or emailing dc@donnaclements.com.

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