Mom's Wheelbarrow

Hello Tubby here with another true tale for your enjoyment, yes I am in it but the main player is an old wheeler, Thanks for the visit.

My son, now a grown man with a child of his own and I were moving some fire wood that had been delivered. I said, “You stack and dad will run it back to you with this old wheelbarrow.” “That old hunk of junk, we should get a new one,” son person said as he walked away. A new one? This one still works fine I thought as I grabbed the worn old handles and the memories flew.

My mother was pushing this wheeler when she died, hauling something to a neighbors as she always did, just walking along and. But the story starts way, way before that. Yes it starts way back when Tubby was just a Chubby back in the second grade.

My Grandparents that lived right next door had purchased this wheeler for my parents for a Christmas present and it became the single source of everything for the Nevada family. Haul dirt, grab the barrow, haul rocks, wood, everything that went anywhere on our property was hauled in this beauty.

Now it wasn’t one of those little garden wheelbarrows it was a big ole he-man haul a load and boy it could. I was hauling a load of dirt one day when I broke the handle right off, no problem; dad just bent a new set of handles from some water pipe. It was good as new in a day, except for. Yep it had an odd grip to the handles with your hands kind of leaning forward, plus he never put the rubber grips back on.

We put in our own septic tank and drain field, no problem as the wheeler hauled all the gravel and fill. Now we could have had the work done, but we were the Nevada’s and we did everything ourselves, besides we had a swell wheeler.

Dad started to put in rockeries, rock needed hauling and dirt to be screened and hauled, no problem he had Tubby and his brother for the job plus we had that swell wheelbarrow.

Hmmm Tubby, where is mom in this story? Well this wheeler had a life besides all the dirty work. Yep when you got done with the dirty work you were expected to wash the bucket out for Mom.

We lived at the end of a long driveway then it was down a long walk to edge of the lake where the Nevada residence sat. Mom would park her old station wagon (we called it the grit wagon) as close as she could then haul the groceries, laundry, shopping what-ever in the wheelbarrow. I can remember on arriving from a trip to town her saying, “Tubby go down and get the wheelbarrow.” We would load it full, stop off at the garage where our freezer was, unload the frozen foods and then down the long walk to the house. We would repeat until the car was empty. In those days you just didn’t run to the store, it was a weekly or bi-weekly shopping excursion.

Sure would have been swell for mom to have a washer and dryer, but alas we didn’t so the clothes would be hauled to the wagon in the wheeler, off to the Laundromat then returned to the house baskets balanced in the trusty one wheeler. How many trips she made up and down the sidewalk with wash would be hard to figure but she made a lot and I never heard her complain.

Firewood, yep we need to haul fire wood and the wheeler hauled wood a plenty to keep moms little kitchen burner stocked. Odd how you always put that extra piece right on front that falls off and stops you as you start to haul your load. Living in the woods we were always moving wood around; remember clean the pitch and bark out of the bucket before you put it away. Lean it up under cover or the bucket will rust. Old Tubby got into trouble several times for leaving it just sitting in the yard to fill with rainwater.

I can remember seeing mom pushing my young son around in that wheeler; he would say “Gram, faster, faster Gram!” She would laugh and off they would go up the drive. Then he would try to push it but those handles were just too tall for the little one.

One day stopping by after work I saw her hauling plants in the barrow and she said I think it has seen its last day. What? Seems rust had finally gotten to the 20 year old bucket. Last days, not at the Nevada’s, my dad had already found another used bucket and mounted it up the next day.

As my mother got older she carried things less and used the wheeler more. It surprised Tubby to see some of the little things she would haul rather than carry in her arms. Who knew she was close to the last trip with her old workhorse. I thought hmmm she is just getting old, but actually she was just about the same age as this scribe and I feel quite young.

So now you know why I took the wheeler and left the stacking for Tubby Jr. The polished old handles, the wrong bend, and all the memories. All this is coming from just pushing the old wheelbarrow? I went from being a little kid to and old man in one trip of pushing a load of wood to the back yard. It has been 21 years since mom died and I can still see her with that wheeler heading up the walk to the parking area. Yep mom would be proud to see her old wheelbarrow is still rolling and doing hard work at over 50 years old.

Tubby Jr. yells, “Hey old man where’s the wood, I am back here stacking air.” Ok the daydreams are over, “Coming-coming,” I yell, hmmm the tire seems a tad low on air and these damn handles with no grips make it hard to handle, but one thing is for sure. We are keeping this old wheeler forever and maybe someday my granddaughter will grab those odd bent handles and say, “I remember when-!”

Thanks again for the visit and Tally-Ho from Tubby.

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