Tarp Straps

 

Once in a while, when you start thinking about how to do something better, you kind of let your imagination wander a little, and sometimes it wanders right past common sense and good judgment.

       

        This isn't necessarily a bad thing, until you determine to put the imagined improvement into a working plan.  That's where it goes past common sense and good judgment.

       

        Let me give you an example.

       

        On my travels back and forth to work-- some 26 miles one-way, 23 of which are highway driving -- I chance to see rubber tarp straps laying along side the road.  These straps of various lengths are used by truckers of various types to hold tarps usually (thus they're called "tarp" straps?) to cover cargo of various size and content.  But especially during the harvest season do I encounter more of these tarp straps laying along side the road.

       

        Many are broken in some manner --- no doubt the reason they're laying along side the road -- but occasionally one is found that is as good as the day it was purchased at the local farm and home.

        Now when you're zipping along at 65 MPH on a 4-lane highway, you don't just slam on the brakes to come to a screeching halt and jump out to pick up the spied strap on the tarmac.  Well, you can, but it makes the other drivers pretty upset, besides running the risk of being forcibly removed from the highway by one of your fellow commuters. 

        No, you need a plan to safely navigate and appropriate.  It needs to be done at a time when the drivers aren't putting on their makeup, talking on their cell phone, eating breakfast, fighting with the kids, hurrying home to pick up the kids, or picking their nose while reading the Post weaving in and out of traffic.

        I first decided that what I needed was a helper.  And then it dawned on me that God had already supplied me a helper... in fact, she'd been trying to help me with various things for the past 35 years.  Some things she had been trying to help me out of and away from.... Surely she wouldn't mind one more project?  The good part was she still had her driver's license, and furthermore, she could still see well enough to drive! 

            I further determined the best time of the day was in the evening after work, that is, after rush hour if you can call it rush hour in Rural America.  But still, you had to keep up with traffic to an extent; you couldn't just creep along at 35 MPH watching for tarp straps (see the aforementioned dangers).   And I was pretty sure I couldn't bail out the passenger door while Peg drove by, and still be able to climb back in the truck by the time she drove to the next exit and turned around to get me.  No, what we needed was to be able to see those straps far enough ahead to be able to slow down, pull over, and me get out and grab that strap.

            Then it hit me.  Binoculars!  I could watch the road ahead through a pair of binoculars while Peg drove and I could see those straps soon enough to tell her to slow down and pull off.  What an absolutely brilliant idea!!

            So I got my little pair of 10 X 25 TASCO binoculars with the little neck string on them, and off we went. We were going to make a killing on tarp straps this season!  Yessireee, It's like picking up dollar bills, you know.

            Have you ever tried to look through binoculars while driving down the road at about 60 miles an hour?  The view is real jittery, and I soon discovered I just couldn't see well enough.  So now what?

            I went to our local discount and checked out the binoculars.  I was able to purchase a pair of Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers.  Man, oh, Man, those are REAL binoculars!!  Yeah, they took batteries, but that was what made them hold still.  You could probably ride a bicycle down the stairs and the image wouldn't shake.  I was going to try it, but Peg wouldn't let me.  (If she had known what I paid for those binoculars, she would have thrown me down those stairs.)

            All right, we were all set, and the next evening I got home from work, ate a nice big supper (this is important), hung my Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers around my neck, got Peg behind the wheel of the pickup, and we were off!  It was a beautiful summer evening to go tarp-strap hunting.

         We got out on the interstate, wasn't too much traffic, so I told Peg to cruise about 50 miles per hour.  I focused those Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers out there about 100 yards, and whoopee did they work good!!  I could literally count the pieces of tire the semi-trucks left when they had a re-tread fall apart.  And the next thing you know I spotted a tarp strap, and let out a yelp that almost made poor Peg drive off the road.  She was a little perplexed over my enthusiasm, but she'd seen me act a little less than my age before, and it wasn't doing any harm, and she began to warm to the project.  She pulled over, I jumped out, and grabbed up a 24-inch tarp strap that had both hooks in it, wasn't broke, and didn't even look like it had ever been hooked in the eye of a tarp.  Why, the hooks didn't even have any rust on them!

            So off we went to find more rubber and metal treasures.

            Now, if you do much traveling in the Midwest, you have no doubt seen various shapes and sizes of road-kill; unfortunate deaths of animals of all kinds, but mostly raccoon, rabbit, squirrel, and of course the real fender-bender, White-tail deer.  My nephew had a turkey fly up in front of his pickup once, did $1,300 worth of damage, but that's another story.

            My Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers had multiplied my vision several times (in spite of the fact that I can't see well), and they also produced it in a crystal-clear panoramic-view that was quite remarkable.  However I had not counted on the effects of seeing road-kill in such an up-close and graphic manner while moving along the highway at 55 miles per hour.  An old mother raccoon and two young ones --may they rest in piece--was the first encounter that evening with Nature's loss.

           I had been fighting a little motion sickness already as the ground sped by in front of my enhanced vision, but I couldn't let Peg know, so I just swallowed hard and kept looking.  But when I saw those raccoons, well, I had to drop those Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers down for a few seconds and let my stomach settle down a bit.  But it passed within a couple of minutes, and I acted like nothing was wrong.  Peg was none the wiser.  Not until we came to that 8-point buck deer.

            Now, that deer had been laying out in the summer sun for who knows how many days, because I later remembered having seen him on my way to work, and the highway department had not been around to pick him up yet.  But I was so enthralled with the success of my venture, I had forgotten about him, and I was not conscious of where we were in our hunt for tarpaulin ligatures.  Well, the sun had cooked him pretty good, and I'd say about 30 seconds before we got to him, that buck deer popped like a kernel of Orville Redenbachers Butter-flavored Popcorn in a West Bend Air Popper.  And that's when I saw him.

            I didn't have time to put down my Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers before I lost my supper.  It tasted much better the first time.  Peg was caught off guard so bad, she actually did drive off the road, right over that dead buck and down in to the ditch (luckily it was shallow), all at the same time yelling at me "Out the window!  Out the window!"  By the time we got stopped, I had got the window rolled down, and hung my head out --and stared that buck right in the eye as his head was sticking out from under the truck with one of his antlers almost touching my nose.  Peg says I fainted.  I can't tell you what happened, because I don't really remember.  And that's the truth.

            I do remember selling those Bush-nell 16 X 50 Fog-Less Image-Stabilizing real-leather-neck-strap Optical Enhancers for a lot less than I gave for them.  And when I need a tarp strap, I go down to the farm and home store and buy one.  They only cost a dollar or so.

October 13, 2004 Myron D. Blaine