The royal Christmas tractor

by Rebecca Clifford, Caledonia

By December 2016, Mum’s mobility had become an issue. It was Caledonia’s turn to host Christmas and we needed to find a way to get Mum into our house with minimum fuss and bother.

Every entry to the place had stairs, but we’d been through this before when Mum had had her knee replaced. My husband Ron constructed a series of ramps and pulley-drawn platforms—the “Queen Mary”—but these pieces had since been repurposed.

Rising to the challenge, Ron, being a farm-raised, milk-fed boy, is always keen to use machinery. He put forks on the tractor, nailed plywood to a skid, slid the skid on the forks and nailed a jig to the plywood top. The jig held a sturdy wooden deck chair securely in place.

When the folks arrived, Ron backed the tractor up to the car. Mum stepped onto the skid, did a slow pivot and lowered herself into the deck chair. My brother took pictures but they didn’t turn out as he was laughing so hard.

The rest of the family stood on the front porch in anticipation. Ever one to make an entrance, Mum did the royal wave from the deck chair as Ron inched the tractor across the lawn, backed it gingerly to the top of the steps and eased the lip of the skid onto the porch.

Appropriately, we sang “God Save the Queen” and Mum stood with my brother-in-law’s help and inched over the door frame into the hall to our applause.

At the end of the evening, Mum exited the same way, serenaded with “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiederzehen, Good Bye” from The Sound of Music.

Nothing the Clifford family does should really surprise anyone by now.

Writer’s note: This is (and I emphasize this) a true story. Really. I promise … about how we managed last Christmas with my Mum’s mobility issues.