Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It’s a secret no one knows
It’s a secret no one knows
Oh, no one knows
It is, indeed, a secret that no one knows. It breezes and blows through our lives and through our houses, like extractor fans for the kitchen. When I was a small boy it used to get so hot that we’d sit at the exhaust pipe of the extractor fan from our kitchen and we’d feel the blow back of the fan on our faces…
Yeah. That’s a bit like what it was like. We thanked the sweet lord for that extractor fan in our kitchen. We used to tell a joke that went something like this: There’s a man who loves tractors, he read all about them all his childhood. When he gets old enough he does the test to drive them and he passes with flying colours. He becomes a professional tractor driver. Whilst working one day he meets a girl named Mary-Lee who works loading the bales, after a short time of courting they get married in a beautiful ceremony held on the very farm were they met. Mary-Lee has white roses in her light brown hair, the man looks deep into her eyes as he says ‘I do’ and he feels like he understands what love and happinesses truly are. They settle near the farm and a few years later they have their first child, a boy called Matthew. Their young lives are blessed with a beautiful, healthy child that lights up their lives and they quickly have another, a baby girl they name Sandy. Work on the farm was hard, and there were a few lean years, the man would get stressed about money, about whether he could keep his young family going, but when he came home in the evenings and spent time with Mary-Lee, Matthew and Sandy, he always felt blessed, and (almost) always felt nothing but happy and full of and surrounded by love. This was how it appeared. The stress and the worry, though, were weighing on the man. And when he did return to his family, their loveliness and their peace and their innocence only weighed on him more, as he never wanted to bring any negativity into their lives. So he kept it all in, kept it secret, and plastered a smile on his face whenever he walked through the front door. He started spending more time in the small pub on the edge of the farm. Unbeknownst to his wife, his drinking was spiralling out of control. One day he drove the tractor back to the house, his precious tractor, the tractor he was so proud of and still loved so much. He pulled into the drive just in front of Mary-Lee, his wife was in the small car with Matthew and Sandy. He was feeling hazy from the night before, and from the swigs of whisky he’d started taking from the bottle he stashed in the tractor’s cab, he got in and parked up, and jumped out of the cab. He’d done this a thousand times but this time his dungaree’s somehow caught on the hand break as he jumped, yanking it back up. He hit the floor on his knees and banged his head on the wall of the house. Dazed, he felt the tractor moving behind him, rolling backwards, no longer kept in place by the hand break. He looked up just in time to scan back to the rest of his family in the car behind. He looked up just in time to see what was happening. He looked up just in time to look into his wife’s scared eyes. Look into to those eyes he loved, for the last time. The tractor rolled back and crushed them. Delirious, the man ran over to the tractor, trying to push it off the crushed car, he fell to the floor and wept. The tractor sat there, uncaring, on top of the corpses of his wife and his two young children. Mary-Lee, Matthew and Sandy. Over the next year the man became a hopeless alcoholic, wrecked with guilt over what had happened to his family. He swore never to drive a tractor again, and came to blame tractors themselves for the tragedy. He hated tractors, the very things he had loved. He had nothing left: the family he had loved was dead and the tractors he had loved now filled him with pain and anger whenever he thought of them. Vilified by the farm community, he was demoted to maintaining the pig sties, effectively shovelling shit for hours, day and night. He was the only person who had to work at night, something to do with the sleeping habits of the pigs. Every night he would drink, and shovel shit in the cold, dark night. This was his lowest ebb, this his most demeaning job, but it would lead to his redemption. For he was the only one up at night, on the one night that mattered. He was the first to see the flames. The main house had caught fire, a farm hand had fell asleep with his cigarette still lit in his hand. The man ran out and saw the house with flames licking out of the windows, and smoke filling the rooms. He ran in.
Hours later, he sat on the back of an ambulance. No one had died in the flames. Miraculously, after the man ran in, smoke seemed to billow faster out of the house, leaving little inside. Due to this many of the potential victims were able to be resuscitated, and brought to safety. He was a hero. He had redeemed himself, he had saved 17 peoples lives. Sitting their with a silver blanket on his solders, the head fireman approached, ‘Sorry sir, I know you must be in shock, but I have to ask: how did you manage to go in their and get all of that smoke out of the house?’ the man, raising his eyes, with tears brimming, turned to the man and simply said: ‘I’m an Ex-tractor fan’.