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They Don’t Make (Or Repair) Them Like They Used To

September 10, 2019

This is Jack Kelly. Jack is an 86 year old Arizona rancher. Jack lives in an old ranch house. You get to Jack’s place by go four miles past where the pavement ends.

If directions to your house involves the phrase, “Turn off the paved road.” . . .you might be a redneck.
– Jeff Foxworthy

Redneck is an interesting word. To people who aren’t one it’s an insult. To people who are, it’s a complement.

Jack wasn’t a redneck in the classic sense. But, he was as country as they come. He gave us a tour around his place. It used to be tens of thousands of acres. Now, he and his sweetheart live on a 20 acre piece that will be protected by the county after they pass away.

Jack showed us a lot of different things on his place. He showed us the pond he’d cleared when he first bought the place fifty years prior.

He showed us a seeder that was originally designed for use by horses that he’d rigged to use a behind a tractor. The equipment must have been at least 75 years old and looked like it hadn’t been used in decades.

My brother-in-law stands next to the seeder he and Jack used a couple years ago, as some of my kids listen

But, my brother-in-law explained that he’d help Jack plant a corn field with it just two years prior. That meant that Jack was driving the tractor at 84. He showed us equipment that was now fit for a museum.

And then Jack showed us something really impressive.

I work on cars. I’m not a great mechanic. But, I’m good enough to know what is hard and what’s possible. Jack showed me this.

That’s a patch. It’s iron? steel? But, it’s a metal patch.

See, what happened was that one day this tractor threw a rod. You know what throwing a rod is, right?

Yeah. It knocks a hole in the engine block. Pretty serious problem.

Yep. Well that’s where she knocked the hole. So, I drilled the hole, tapped em and stuck that patch on there. Filled ‘er back up with oil and she was good as new.

The tractor looked like it has finished it’s last job, but I wouldn’t place any bets on how long Jack will still be working that 20 acres in Arizona.

They don’t make them (or repair them) like that any more.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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