Thursday, February 07, 2008

RIP Altec my faithful friend


Just before Christmas I was working on the fields when my old giraffe gave a little sway which was unusual for less than thirty feet, since she will do twice that. I pulled the reigns to see what was up with the old long beast and parts of the neck were frozen. I managed to get the upper bones to fold enough to climb down. Once I was on the ground I noticed a hemorrhage, a small drip-drip from the head. She was still perched with her neck half up and twisted and I knew she could not travel like that, so I pulled her from the ground with her lower reigns and brought her down with her last bit of energy. Then the drip broke into a hard pour right above where I had to fold her legs for travel. I gathered a five gallon bucket to catch the slippery blood and keep it from pouring on me while the legs were folded. The bucket was filling fast and I put her to sleep but the bleeding worsened. Once the bucket filled I grabbed another, now the poor beast was pouring from several places so I gathered all the rags I could find and tied a makeshift tourniquet to at least control where the flow would fall. I was calling for help from the Doctor while trying to mop this huge mess and watching her fade away. It was scary to think of my sweet Altec so sick, but the Doc had hope since he had seen animals in worse shape recover.


Weeks have passed since she was hospitalized and she has been in intensive care at times. At other points she was out to pasture with the other beast waiting to heal. This past week she has been put in the field where the really old burdened creatures live. The furthest pasture where the once most valuable ones are, the ones who have served in capacities to save humans and cool fires with their mighty bellies and water spouting noses.

The Doctor gave the news today that she is gone too weak to serve anyone. She will be missed.

I have had her in tight places no one else would attempt and she has carried people and supplies to high roof tops. She has been in trees and wide open skies. On busy streets and back allies and city parties she was a regular. I have been able to use her to go where only crows and hawks visit daily. She will be missed this spring when the smell of fresh cut grass and baseball diamond dust rises sixty feet above the fenced fields.

It does not make matters worse to imagine a truck is an exotic working beast when you grieve for her passing.
:: posted by Tennessee Jed, 9:23 PM

7 Comments:

alas, poor altec: you knew him. tiz a shame that everthang gits used up n has to be putt out to pastchur, even us humans. i am a'hopin this good place i wurk dont putt me out, witch thays a round of rifs a'cummin. i doubt they will try to fix or repair inny of us'ns ere we are gone.

i never miss a sangle post ye putt up, sir, even ifn i dont always commint.
Blogger buddydon, at 12:51 PM  
I too never miss a single post from the Wandering Hillbilly.

I hope the best in your job situation. Perhaps if things don't go your way it is a chance to do something you have always wanted to do like start a business or visit Jed.

We will take our shotguns and hone our skills for the coming of the new world order.
Blogger Tennessee Jed, at 5:18 PM  
I'm tearing up thinking of our loss. She was fun to be with, she was gentle to the first time operator (me) as we put up safety signs at the pump station... remember?
excuse me... sniff sniff.
Blogger Basegasket, at 8:16 PM  
I have never owned a machine that didn't have a soul. You need to go out in that field, place a hand on her, and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Then she will be at peace.
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Anonymous Utility Digger Derrick, at 4:57 PM  
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