With a few hours to spare between writing stories and covering an event on Saturday, I stopped by the farm to find a pretty red four-wheeler tucked away in the shed.
It belonged to my older brother and, in the absence of the four-wheeler I typically take for a spin, I climbed aboard, turned the key in the ignition and set the ATV in reverse.
It seemed not too different from the one I’m most accustomed to driving, so I took off down the tree line, along the ditch and past the grove of trees.
That’s where I stopped. Brother Randy was there, along with our dad, pulling up an auction sign.
“Can I drive your four-wheeler?” I asked Randy. (Yes, I do realize it was a little late to be asking, but better late than never, right?)
In typical brother fashion, Randy said, “No.”
(He was smirking though, so I took that to mean he really didn’t care!)
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because you’ll get it dirty,” he replied.
“No I won’t. I’ll just cross the driveway here and take the hay field,” I said before starting the ignition again and taking off.
How was I to know the really knobby tires on his ATV were going to latch on to all of that mud in the driveway and start to pummel it out?
I don’t think I’d gone more than 10 feet into the hay field, picking up speed, when mud bullets started to fly every which way. One pelleted me right in the face, and another landed smack-dab on the top of my head.
I kept driving with one hand and trying to pull the mud out of my hair with the other. Had anyone been watching, I’m sure it would have been quite the sight!
Anyway, I made my way out to the back pasture, followed my summer-developed trail to the top of the hill overlooking Peterson Slough and then took off through the grassy area along Ocheyedan Creek to look for muskrats.
I pretty much went wherever there was no mud, still trying to pull the quickly drying dirt from my hair.
On the way back to the farm, I cut through the trees and drove up to the back door of the house. It wasn’t until I stepped off the four-wheeler that I noticed the mess I’d made.
Suddenly, flashbacks appeared of Randy’s refusal to let me drive the ATV because it would get dirty.
I went into the house, grabbed some paper towel and ran it under the faucet; then I went back outside and wiped dirt off of virtually every nook and cranny there is on a four-wheeler — all before Randy made it back to the farm yard.
I suppose if he reads this, he’ll know the whole story, but I wasn’t about to say anything to him about getting his precious four-wheeler dirty.
I’m just glad I’d thought ahead to bring an extra change of clothes along with me for my late-afternoon work assignment in Sibley. Next time, I’ll remember to bring my make-up along too, as well as a bottle of shampoo and hairspray!