Treat Me Like A Tractor

Farm equipment on Rt C near New Wells 11-13-2013I’ve been burning up the road between Cape and Altenburg interviewing people for my Last Generation project – trying to capture the last generation of East Perry county residents who spoke German as their primary language.

There are a lot of crops being harvested right now – primarily corn and beans. I was southbound on Rt. C near New Wells when this monster machine appeared in front of me doing about 20 miles per hour.

The driver did a masterful job of keeping the high center of gravity vehicle going while dodging mailboxes and shoulder drop-offs when he had to get over in his lane for oncoming traffic.

As the cars backed up behind me, I could only think of how many people would be honking and writing letters to the editor about how bikes don’t belong on the road if I had been on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. (For the record, this is one of my favorite bike routes. I’ve always been treated with courtesy on it. It’s only when you get close to Cape that you run into drivers who are jerks.)

So, when you see me on my bike with my Slow Moving Vehicle triangle on my back (just like this guy’s), treat me like a tractor. And, if you are going too fast to slow down without hitting me, you’re going too fast to keep from hitting the Monster Machine or the many deer I’ve seen alongside (and crossing) the road.

Heartwarming Americana

Athens County school buses 10-11-1968I was trying to make a left turn out of a nursing home in Perryville where I had been shooting one of my subjects – a 103-year-old Altenburg woman.

A school bus dropping off kids had traffic backed up about a dozen cars deep. “Oh, man, I’m going to be here for a long time,” I thought.

Reminding me that I was back in the Midwest, a car about four back slowed down to create a gap, then the driver motioned me out. Yep, we’re not in Florida anymore.

I didn’t mind the delay

The bus driver must have made at least six or eight stops, with the line of cars growing longer and longer behind me. I didn’t mind the delay, to be honest. I really enjoyed watching the grade school kids hop off the bus loaded down with their backpacks and dash to the house where a parent would be waiting at the door.

One middle school kid stopped at the mailbox, grabbed a letter from it and went running up the hill to his home. He seemed excited. I wonder what was in the envelope?

The driver finally got to a spot wide enough for him to pull off to let the line of cars go by. I was kinda disappointed. Since I wasn’t watching the clock, it was nice change of pace.

P.S. I was too far back to get a good bus shot, so I had to dip into the time machine to pull up this Athens County bus from Oct. 11, 1968.

10 Replies to “Treat Me Like A Tractor”

  1. I did not want to rain on your parade, but there are places in Europe where almost whole countries speak German, even the kids! So the German language is going on in the world and it is healthy and not the last generation of German speakers. I know how you like to tromp around in the back country so enjoy! I will wait to see your pictures and writing about all this later and enjoy it.

  2. Sirs,

    Mr. Steinhoff DID point that out Magnum PU Hopkins.
    And as long as you are using your considerable “investigative talents” you may discover that the country speaking the German Lingo in Europe was and still is appropriately named: G E R M A N Y !!

    I know this cause a bunch of my relatives came from there and spoke an odd dialect with some funny words that I also heard from Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes.

    Plus, now that I think about it…. we have had relatives that lived in PERRY COUNTY! Ken…. I think MPU is on to something BIG!!

  3. When the original VW Bug was popular some owners would add decals to the dash to keep the German language alive with such words as ‘Winderdeflippens’, ‘Cigarettendefiren’ and ‘Lightenpullenonnen’. Thinking that the German language was waning is not anything new.

  4. When you get done with taking pic of the beautiful girl from Altenberg would love to see the article about her. I love to see the article’s when you talk about the Perry Co.

    1. You’ll have to wait awhile for this one. It’s part of a longer-term project for the annual Immigration Conference that will put on by the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg in October 2014. The photos will be on exhibit and I will do a presentation to the conference, tentatively on a Saturday.

      Watch this space for more details when we get closer to the date.

      Glad you like my Perry County stuff.

      1. Hah. I think I scooped a professional newspaper guy. We don’t have to wait until we get closer to the date. There is already more information about it here.

        My wife’s ancestors and mine are all German, sort of, but none of them came through Missouri, so I don’t think there is any genealogy information for us there. With backgrounds like ours we have to be careful not to OD on German Lutherans, but Ken’s talk would make it tempting to go. The time of year might be good. But take a look at the size of that registration fee! Three figures would be, well, OK. That’s getting to be normal for a history conference. But such three figures! Even if the Rev. Harrison plays his banjo… Well, I see it is three days, so maybe it’s not so outrageous. If the presentations included something about Native Americans in Missouri, and especially Black Hawk’s time there, that would be a good combo. I’ll mention it to Myra, anyway.

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