Granny Dusts A Four-Wheeler

Daryl Gay's Back Page, December 2005

Daryl Gay | December 1, 2005

Every time you turn around, there’s something new and improved on the market for the hunter. Some of the inventions, contrivances and contraptions are nothing short of amazing. For instance, how does Tink’s get does in heat to pee into those tiny bottles?

If you’ve ever found yourself up a tree with floating eyeballs, and attempted to ring the neck of a 16-oz. plastic bottle without splashing on the ground below, you know what I mean.

As an avowed tinkerer, mechanical improvements and inventions have always impressed me. I remember the days when getting a deceased deer out of the woods meant grabbing a leg and pulling hard. And while old-timers may tell you that field dressing a buck is all about improving the quality of meat, I’m here to set you straight: the less there is inside to drag, the better your back will feel in the morning!

To make things better, some genius invented the two-wheel carryall, upon which a limp deer is placed and rolled. This is much easier than dragging, I must say, except possibly where protruding roots, logs, stumps and standing water are concerned.

When it came time to better the rolling system, the three-wheeler was invented. The better to sling you off into oblivion with every sharp turn, my dear. Actually, three-wheelers weren’t all that bad — as long as you kept them under three miles an hour.

If three wheels were good, then four had to be better, right? You bet. I have absolutely no complaints about four-wheelers, and must even praise them for their entertainment properties. For instance, on the dirt road leading into my hunting territory lives a lady of four-score or so years in age. She likes four-wheelers about as much as you do snakes in your commode.

The solitary reason for this is a full-grown, purebred lunatic at the other end of her road. This guy flunked out of the Evel Knievel School of Road Rash and Abrasions but is taking remedial courses. His current class involves the cutting of circles with the engine revving around 5,000 rpm. In case you have not noticed, it is very dry right now. That’s right: dust bowl city.

Well, the lady does not appreciate the testing being conducted in front of her abode. So after twice seeing the rider flung wildly into the ditch — upon which occasions the four-wheeler proceeded to slam-dunk him and then high-five itself — I watched with interest and admiration and awe as she came leaping off her front porch, broomstick in hand, and gave him a thorough, head-to-toe dusting. Man, she wanted that dude CLEAN!

As she and he wailed, the thought presented itself that this broom-wielder was just what the Houston Astros needed a couple of weeks back in the World Series. Her swing was perfect: front foot closed, back foot pivot, belly button toward the pitcher, eyes at contact. You can bet the ranch she was making contact! Maybe it was the cloud of dust that caused him to lose the bright red four-wheeler he rode in on, but it is for sure and certain that he left without it. At a large trot.

Whether he was dust-free or she ran out of steam, I guess we’ll never know. I, however, was not about to get close enough to her to ask, thinking mebbe she might confuse me for someone else recently dusted. But she had spied me. To my good fortune, however, she had regained her composure.

“You hunt down the road, right? Got two boys that ride a green four-wheeler?”

Uh-oh. My sons are fast, all right, but I don’t know if they could leave her in the dust, so to speak.

“Yes ma’am and yes ma’am,” I stammered.

“They’re good boys. Ride like they got some sense. Stop and talk to me, say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am.’”

Two thoughts crossed my mind: this was likely the highest praise my boys had ever been given, and maybe they did have some sense after all.

But she was not finished.

“I’m a’building me something to fix that other’n with,” she growled. “Mechanical broom; got an electric butt-kicking machine on it. Gonna knock some sense in or kick something else out next time I catch him.”

“Yes ma’am. Mind if I take him his four-wheeler?”

“Well, I’d thought about sprucing it up for him, like mebbe pouring some ball bearings in the oil tank. But it’d likely be better if you was good enough to take it to him along with some advice: stay on his end of the road.”

He received both, one in good working condition and the other to assure that he remained that way. But she had me thinking about those inventions; was it possible that I could come up with something that would prove a boon to the outdoorsman while clinking some coin of the realm into my cobwebbed coffers?

I got my answer on the ride home.

If you’re like me, any time you get behind the wheel of an automobile Charlie pulls out in front of you. Thirty Mile An Hour Charlie. Generic name, fits male or female. And Charlie is going to have a partner, one who pulls right up behind him/her but refuses to pass, making it necessary for you to get by two vehicles instead of one.

Well, I’ve been behind the dynamic duo for 10 miles before reaching a barren straightway. Well, almost barren. Unbeknownst to me, there is a 120-class buck who has just now decided to CROSS the road while all I want to do is go blithely down it. I’m side-by-side with Charlie, 100 feet away from all those high, wide antlers and closing fast. Well, rubbing is racing, so I make the split-second decision to move Charlie out of the lane I want instead of hitting this gorgeous buck. Charlie, however, has decided to take a rather quick, for him, right turn, and is gliding down the shoulder, barely disturbing the bahia grass. Sliding easily back in front of Charlie’s partner, I watch in the mirror as Ol’ Chuck drops back behind — where he should have been all along, and the deer waves his tail as I shoot by.

OK. Get ready to order.

It’s not really new; just a remodeled revival of the old cowcatcher on steam locomotives, modified to fit any modern vehicle. Just strap it on and get ready to roll. But there is a twist: it’s not made for deer. Or cows, or hogs or whatever else may be standing in the road you thought was yours.

Oh, no, they’re perfectly safe. But the next time Charlie whips out in front of me…


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