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Flats make one worn and tired

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

Few daily troubles exceed that of having a flat tire. Totally unexpected and always at a bad time, a flat tire can disrupt schedules, mess up clean clothes and agitate any plans for the immediate future. As a longtime farmer and rancher with many tires on the ground I could write a book (or article) about flats. Here are a few Trewly flat stories.

I can remember the early 1940s pretty well and don't remember many flats. But it was during the war and no one drove unless absolutely necessary. Also, much of the farm equipment back then still had steel wheels. Driving slower with lighter loads might have prevented flat troubles.

The 1950s brought on more pickups and tandem wheel horse trailers. This doubled the number of tires on the ground. I've always believed pickups running ahead of trailers, disturbed the nails in the road making them mad, and they retaliate by jumping up into the tires of the trailers as they pass. I also believe the Lord put thorns on Mesquite trees to try the souls of ranchers.

Countless years of wagon travel dropped nails, staples and pieces of wire onto dirt roads which now puncture new rubber tires. Most counties purchased huge magnets to pull along the roads to suck up such metal. It was amazing how quickly a barrel of potential flats could be harvested in a single trip down an old country road.

I once hired my grandchildren to pick up such items from my ranch driveways paying them a penny for each item found. This worked well until they began bringing me bright shiny nails from the buckets in my shop. They were smarter than I first thought.

A tornado once destroyed the new home of neighbor Bob Urban in Ochiltree County and dumped the entire mess in one of my wheat fields which was destroyed by hail at the same time. It required more than a week to plow the field with Mr. Hash's flat-fixing truck from town standing by each morning to fix all the equipment flats.

I once hired a cowboy to tend my stock here at the ranch while I tended other business. Almost every day brought flat tires on the trailer and pickup causing him a trip to town and wait in the coffee shop while the flats were repaired. When I bought tire tools, patches and glue and provided an air-compressor for him to fix his own flats the problem seemed to evaporate, shall I say into "compressed air."

At the height of my farming career I had so much flat and tire trouble the B.F Goodrich Co. sent out a man to study my problems. After a half-day riding with me he explained the main reason for my problems, much to my embarrassment.

He stated, "Mr. Trew, I have counted more than 100 equipment tires on the ground and running along with your pickups and car. Three-fourths of these tires were worn out completely on vehicles before you replaced them and began installing the worn out tires on your equipment. I admire your being frugal (instead of tight) habit but this is ridiculous."

Now, I did not change my somewhat "ridiculous frugal ways," but I did quit complaining.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
October 26, 2010 column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.

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This page last modified: October 26, 2010