Uncle Will would come to the farm almost every weekend and for his long holidays. A nicer man never existed, but he had one fascinating flaw; equipment had a habit of breaking in his hand, or refusing to work at all. Grandpa, aware of this issue, would usually give him work where he could do little harm.
But one late summer, with the oats ready to be harvested, Uncle Will was put to working the binder while Grandpa drove the tractor. Off they went, down one side of the field, along the bottom, but on the way up again Willie roared out that the stringer wasn’t catching and nothing but loose cuttings were coming off onto the ground.
Such a lovely day; had they kept going the job would have all been done by tea time, but it was not to be. No matter how they worked and fiddled with stringer mechanism, it wouldn’t do as it should, and they were still out in the field at 4 pm, having gone not a foot further.
It was time for Uncle Will to leave, he had a bus to catch; and sitting on the wall at the top of the field, Grandpa and I watched him walk away up the lane, down the road for a good mile, and stand at the War memorial until the coach arrived. We saw it stop, Will go inside, and after the bus had moved away and disappeared down the hill, Grandpa returned to the crippled machine and said to it, “It’s all right now, Will’s gone.”
I went on the binder, and for the rest of the time it took to cut the crops, not a thing went wrong again.
Memoirs of a Child on a Farm