Even when not intended, the contents of this vaunted column sometimes strays from the informative and inspirational.
Should you make the choice, dear reader, to continue to peruse the well chosen words that follow, you do so at your own risk. Those who fail to heed this clear and precise warning will be subject to stupidity, utter foolishness, a distinct lack of real knowledge and, in all probability, will become somewhat dumber for the experience.
While a few heartless souls may choose to revel at the misconception that I am about to reveal, I'm certain most will display the expected compassion and understanding. Fully armed with the comfort of that knowledge, I find the inner strength to continue my short story.
Kim Fundingsland is a staff writer for The Minot Daily News.
This saga begins a long, long time ago. In television terms that's about the time black and white television sets gave way to color sets that were always too fuzzy, too green or too red. It was also the era of some of the most wonderful television shows ever produced, unmistakable proof that Hollywood-types spent way too much time abusing their gray matter.
Among the hilarious by-products of such behavior was a bevy (I guess that's several) of 30 minute television programs that brought complete stupidity into every household in America. These shows, quite naturally, dominated the ratings. Among the dumbest was "Green Acres" a program that brought us Arnold Ziffel, a pig; numbskull county agent Hank Kimball, delightfully annoying Mr. Haney and the never reliable Hoyt-Clagwell tractor.
For you younger generation readers, this should help you understand a likely source of the weird ways of your elders. Through no fault of our own, we were subject to these types of television programs on a nightly basis. Any carry-over is understandable. We enjoyed the incredibly dopey to the point of jealousness and are more than happy to share a portion of our twisted upbringing with the youth of today. Call it therapy.
Now, back to the steam belching Hoyt-Clagwell which is the real purpose of luring you in to read this nonsense. The Hoyt-Clagwell was owned by leading man Oliver Wendell Douglas. The steel-wheeled beast always broke down after moving only a few feet, but the television exposure brought the previously neglected Hoyt-Clagwell to national prominence. The demand for Hoyt-Clagwells was enormous. Everyone wanted one, whether it was for tilling the back 40 or just driving the kids to school.
Years ago, I suspect when a few black and white televisions could still be found in a living room near you, I came across a genuine Hoyt-Clagwell. Oh sure, it was a bit rusty but what a discovery it was! I'm sure you'll understand the necessary precaution of my keeping the precise location of such a classic a secret. I can only say it was "south of Minot."
The wonderful old tractor sat in desolation, rusting away in an old farmstead location only discernible by the telltale trees and lilac bushes. It was a perfect place to let the dogs run a bit. It was during one of these "pit stops" that an unnamed individual approached the tractor and excitedly informed me that it was indeed a rare Hoyt-Clagwell.
That treasured historical piece sat in that old farmyard for years. I often stopped there, letting the dogs run and telling whoever was accompanying me that he was looking at one of the rarest items in all of American history a Hoyt-Clagwell. Then, one spring, the tractor was gone. I reasoned that someone must have paid a small fortune for it, but that it would be restored to its previous glory. Even though I felt good about that, I missed the old tractor.
Recently, after having told the story and pointing out the location to my billionth beleaguered listener, I've learned that there never was any such thing as a Hoyt-Clagwell. I'd been had, and darn good too! The Hoyt-Clagwell was actually well-calculated spoof from the goofball writers at "Green Acres."
As it turns out, Mr. Douglas' Hoyt-Clagwell was actually a Fordson. The Fordson was sort of Edsel of tractors, if that helps.
I'm thinking Arnold the pig already knew that.
I wish I had.