My Father's Garden: Wagon Wheel

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Wagon Wheel is a chapter from R J Dent's novel-in-progress, My Father's Garden.

Submitted: May 01, 2016

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Submitted: May 01, 2016

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My Father’s Garden: Wagon Wheel

by R J Dent

 

1: Tyre

 

– Some gardens have a wagon wheel in them, my mother said.

– What for? my father asked.

– For decoration. It leans against the house wall as a decorative feature.

– I see. Well, I might be able to get hold of one for you, my father said.

– Oh, good. That’d be nice.

My father’s first attempt was a dismal failure; he brought home a huge tractor tyre.

It was taller than he was.

My father rolled it into the front garden and leaned it against the house wall. It loomed there gigantically as he went to find my mother.

– Oh, no, that’s not right, my mother said, on being shown the tyre.

– Is it not? my father asked, clearly surprised.

– Well, it’s not a wagon wheel, is it?

– It’s very similar.

– Not really. Wagon wheels are made of wood or metal and have spokes. This is a spoke-free rubber monstrosity. It needs to go.

And so, my father was stuck with a giant tyre.

He tried a couple of things to make it an invisible part of the garden, but they weren’t his best ideas.

The first thing he did was paint the tyre grey. He painted a grey brick pattern on it, and lowered the tyre so that it encircled the pond.

– It looks just like a raised stone seat surround.

– It looks a lot like a grey tyre, my mother said.

She was right; it did.

My father then dragged the tyre to the bottom of the garden, filled it with soil and planted a selection of brightly-coloured flowers in it.

That lasted for a week or so, until my sister mentioned how much she enjoyed trampolining.

My father tipped the soil out of the tyre, rolled it next to my sister’s swing, set it flat on the ground, got a rubber groundsheet from the cupboard where he kept the caravan fittings and supplies, stretched the rubber over the tyre, and then told my sister her trampoline was ready.

My sister jumped on it and was launched really high in the air. She shrieked in terror.

She landed reasonably well.

– I’m not going on that, it’s too dangerous, she said.

– You have to be careful, that’s all, my father said. Just don’t go wild on it.

Slightly mollified, my sister jumped on it again. She bounced up and landed on the top bar of the swing. She started crying as she clung there.

My father lifted her down.

My sister ran into the house.

My father sighed and took the rubber sheet off the tyre.

He wheeled the tyre out to the drive and leaned it against the garage.

It was gone the next day.

 

2: Spoke

 

– What’s happened to my wagon wheel? my mother asked, a few days after the trampoline incident.

– I’m still trying to get hold of one for you, my father said.

– Oh, good.

Less than an hour later, I found my father dipping a length of wood into the rain barrel.

– What are you doing, dad? Trying to make it confess to witchcraft?

– I’m trying to put a curve in this wood. Your mother wants a blasted wagon wheel.

– Are you going to make one?

– I’m going to try.

And he did – try, that is. He curved the wood into a half circle, did the same again with another piece of wood, used a set of cricket wickets as spokes, used a bowling ball as a hub and creosoted the whole thing once it was screwed together.

– What do you think? he asked.

– Honesty or tact?

– Honesty.

– It doesn’t look like a wagon wheel.

– No, I know it doesn’t.

– Can’t you just buy a wagon wheel?

– They cost a fortune.

In the end, of course, that’s exactly what he did. He bought a second-hand wooden cart wheel from somewhere and sanded it down. He rolled it into the front garden and leaned it against the wall.

It looked quite good.

It was stolen a few weeks later.

 

*

 

My Father’s Garden: Wagon Wheel

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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