Priming the pump

Farm Forum

We recently received a very special gift from our grandson. It was something that we had anxiously been anticipating. It was something that he had even let us old duffers be a small part of. What excitement! We opened his gift with eagerness. And lo and behold — there he was smiling and beaming out at us with youthful pride from his high school graduation photo.

And then there he was smiling and beaming again with youthful pride in another photo and another photo and yet another photo. He had generously presented us with a whole array of classic graduation photos to enjoy. Uffdah!

Times have certainly changed. Now days, the graduates have a multitude of photos taken utilizing a multitude of unique settings and poses. In Gramp’s and my day, you had one photo taken with one standard pose and that was it.

I recently reviewed our old high school annuals (Class of ’63 and Class of ’65). Sure enough, every classmate was posed just like the one next to them. The guys were in suits and ties and the gals all sported bouffant hairstyles. For some reason, we thought that we were rather spiffy back in the day and that we were so unique and classy and that we stood out in a crowd.

Well, I guess, we were kind of spiffy especially with our classy hairstyles, but how could we think that we stood out in a crowd? For the crowd of graduates all looked the same!

So I say, hurrah for the new style of graduation pictures. They are unique, special, and very memorable. And as gramps and I oohed and aahed over our grandson’s photos, one caught us both by surprise and then it set me to thinking. And the story goes like this….

Gramp’s two banger

Gramps and I were first drawn to the smiling headshot photos of our grandson. There’s something about a kid’s smiling face that just plain ‘gets ya.’ And then as we looked through his whole portfolio of photos, we found and especially relished the pictures of our grandson with Gramp’s John Deere 530 tractor. Oh, how we had all worked on cleaning up that little two-cylinder for this graduation photo shoot. But what’s a little elbow grease when a kid yearns for a photo with one of Gramp’s two-bangers?

Actually, our grandson’s photo bucket list contained several poses with the JD machine. One of the photos placed him in the driver’s seat and one of the photos found him affectionately resting his arm on the 530. In either case, the photos clearly portrayed how the young fellow felt about the tractor. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Absolutely!

Graduation portfolio

As I stated before, today’s graduation photos are a far cry from what they used to be, and I reiterate that I really like the new look. Our grandson is keeping up with the times and since he likes the outdoors, many of the scenes in his graduation photos are very rustic and outdoorsy.

For instance, one photo shows him standing by an old building; another shows him sitting on an antique truck, but the one that really perked hubby’s and my interest was the photo of him standing beside and holding on to an old rustic hand pump. I wondered if he knew how to make the pump work?

The longer I looked at the photo of him holding onto the pump, the more it got me to thinking about the good old days and having to prime the hand pump of my youth. Every day in the summer time it was our duty to make sure our 4-H heifers had plenty of water. Naturally, we sisters took turns with that hand pumping water chore for our beloved bovines. Quite often the durn old thing would lose its prime and then it was we girls’ duty to restore order. Oh, my, having to prime that beastly hand pump often resulted in turmoil amongst the masses, but it was our responsibility to water the heifers no matter what and so we did what we had to do.


Gramps and I have been suffering with some skull pains about what to give our grandson for a special graduation gift. We want to give him something that is useful and that will help him toward a successful life.

Maybe we should tell him some stories about the old hand pump and even show him how to prime one. And maybe even have him actually do the deed. It could be a good survival skill to learn. Or maybe we should simply explain to him the connection between priming an old hand pump and preparing oneself for a successful life.

Both of these actions require diligence, patience, putting good stuff (water) in, to get good stuff (water) to come out, and then learning to never ever give up. Sounds like a good present to me. What do you readers think?

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. E-mail her at: