Almost no fireworks!
Does anything say God Bless America better than an Independence Day parade on a hot Wisconsin summer day?
Again this year, the Orchard Ridge neighborhood here on the SW side of Madison WI knows how to celebrate America’s birthday. (Mike Thomsen is the best association president!) Again in 2021, a big red hook-and-ladder fire truck led the way. A classic Pontiac GTO convertible bore the grand marshals (neighborhood volunteers Peg Breuer Beckman and Scott Peters), Uncle Sam shook hands, and a gaggle of kids on their red, white & blue bunting bikes buzzed in and out like fireflies in the daylight.
The only thing more glorious was your own self-effacing bloggeur piloting his 1949 (or is it a 1951) Allis Chalmers model G tractor, Old Glory slapping him in the face!
It was the Big Reveal of Blaska’s first (and last) tractor restoration project. The coming out party for the little orange machine. It was always the plan to bring up the rear of the little parade. Apparently, that was God’s plan, too, because the damn thing wouldn’t start!
The Madison fire truck began flashing its lights and sounding its siren, the signal that the parade was beginning. Kids are ringing their bicycle bells. A few horns are tooting. But the little Allis G made nary a peep!
Somehow the Head Groundskeeper had got it the two blocks up the hill to the parade staging area. The householder at the curb ran up to say he had such a tractor growing up outside of Elroy WI and yes, he knew Tommy Thompson. Two connections right there.
But now the parade is underway. Blaska is pulling the choke rod with one arm and pushing the starter plunger with the other, working the levers like the Wizard of Oz after he’s been exposed as a fraud. But no fire, no smoke — not even an rr-rrr-RRRR. Hop off the machine, look at the battery. Twist the quick disconnect dial on the negative battery pole even tighter. Push the starter rod — it was Michael J. Fox goosing the DeLorean — Glory Be! little Allis G began singing her song! Such a lovely sound!
Even in third gear, the 72-year-old machine had trouble keeping up with the grandma walking alongside but we caught up with the end of the parade. Must say, many wonderful comments from my neighbors along the way. Either they had forgotten my county board service or they had just moved in but everyone was thumbs up. (Pretty sure those were thumbs.)
In triumph, David and Allis G passed the reviewing stand at Stately Blaska Manor where the Lovely Lisa had grilled hamburgers and beans. Witnessing the Head Groundskeeper’s triumph was Number #1 son Max (who helped scrape and wrench little Allis G), cousins Kurt and Lynn Stock who came all the way from Cedar Falls IA, brother Bill and his Diane, sister Jane and her daughter Olivia, and special guests Tim Stanek (technical advisor of the restoration), his friend Charles Stern and their ladies, Ellen and Sharon.
Prosecco all around as we toasted our success and brother Bill pointed out that I had used substandard bolts.
Previously at Blaska’s Werkeshop:
• We buy the G — don’t need it; just want it
• We prepare the G — “Air quality alert!”
• We paint the G — an old lady with too much lipstick?