I couldn’t wait to get outside and begin the investigation process of finding what area would be the best to play in. Drifts were great to begin digging a cave so by the time I was tired I could take a break in the coziness of the hollow. Sometimes the drifts were so high they would become a slide from which I could climb the roof of the tool shop and jump onto the snow piled as high as the roof line. I always had fun when snow was involved.
One winter dad decided to buy a Moto Ski snowmobile. It was somewhere around a 1972 model, bright orange with a black seat. It was a new toy to play with in the snow. One thing I didn’t like about it was it was hard to start. Being only ten my muscles were growing but that snowmobile was tough to start. It also had a very touchy throttle that would get stuck occasionally. To make sure the throttle wouldn’t stay stuck dad showed me how to pump it to get it revved up and then it would work just fine. He also would spray some WD-40 on the throttle and that seemed to help.
The snowmobile became the new favorite play toy when snow arrived. Of course, I’d have to take turns with my brother, just like we did with the dirt bike in the summer. That never worked out very well! I was older so of course I’d be the “boss” of who would get the longest turns. And it was me, of course. We were instructed on where and how far we could ride from the farm. It was about the same as our dirt bikes were allowed. About one mile in both directions of the farm and out in the open fields on the opposite side of the road.
On one nice sunny winter day, I decided it would be a great day for a snowmobile ride. I can’t remember where dad was but I took it upon myself to get the snowmobile ready; brushed the snow off, checked the gas level, primed it a few times, put the choke on and tightened up my muscles for a big, strong pull to get the beast going. It took a few pulls but I did it! Off I went for a nice ride.
I took it slow and easy over the driveway and across the road to the open fields to where there were some fun drifts to break through. Taking a few short passes back and forth to get the snowmobile warmed up for a nice long ride. On my last pass when I was ready to give it some additional pressure on the throttle, to my surprise the throttle stuck as it had in the past. Dad’s trick of pumping it didn’t work and the throttle was stuck all the way down, going as fast as it would go. I panicked! I couldn’t remember where the kill switch was to shut it down, I was hanging on for dear life. I didn’t know what to do! I was getting tossed around like a rag doll after hanging on and going over several large drifts. With the throttle stuck and me froze in fear of not finding the kill switch I decided to jump off.
Tumbling into the snow and being thrown hard enough to force off one of my boots, but I was ok. I was so scared, it knocked the wind out of me. I stood up as fast as I could and looked in the direction of where the snowmobile was cruising. It was going in a straight line in the open field far, far away from me. Darn it! Now I had to go traipsing back to the yard, into the house and confess that I took the snowmobile without asking permission. I was always getting myself into some type of bind. As far as I remember I didn’t get into too much trouble. Mom and dad were glad I was safe and didn’t get hurt. Whew – dodged the bullet on that escapade!
The reason I even tell this story is because of the ending of “What happened to the snowmobile?”.
Later in the afternoon when my brother and I were outside playing we heard this humming noise and began to track it down. It led us to our far back yard and a huge oak tree. The noise was coming from the snowmobile. It was perfectly positioned with the trunk of the tree being centered between the two skis. The engine was still running at a low volume hum. The only visible damage was that there was no bright orange hood left. The rest of it looked fine. My brother quickly reached over to the kill switch, which was invisible to me, and shut the snowmobile down.
We quickly went to get dad to show him what we discovered. He was so shocked the snowmobile made its way back to the yard. The reason it seemed impossible was because of the course it had to take to get back to our yard. I had jumped off in front of the yard on the opposite side of the road. It meant the snowmobile somehow crossed the road and angled itself back to our yard.
The next spring, we would find bright orange plexiglass from the hood scattered over several fields. We determined the track the snowmobile went was about one and half miles down the opposite side of the road, crossed over by a neighboring farm and then finished its last leg back to our yard.
The morale of the story – sometimes you must jump off and let things go and they will eventually come back to you.
Tough love is what I think of - - when we must release a loved one who is struggling and seems to be swallowed up by their issues. When family and friends cannot rationalize with them and the only way to deal with the situation is to let them go. The waiting until they return is the hardest time. It can be weeks, months or even years. Our faith in God is the only thing to hang on to during these testing times. Believing in God’s promises to never for sake, to love and protect no matter what the circumstances. And the constant state of keeping our minds in prayer and not worry.
Let go and let God have control!