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Our Farm Show

Susan Manzke
Bob and Susan Manzke are all smiles on opening day of the WPS Farm Show in Oshkosh.

As usual, I didn’t sleep well the night before the start of the Wisconsin Public Service Farm Show. Both excited and nervous, I tossed and turned all night long. When morning arrived, I was more than ready to get going, but first breakfast and our morning chores.

Bob and I arrived early ready greet guests at the Wisconsin State Farmer booth in the north tent. A beautiful fifty degree spring day stretched ahead of us.

It wasn’t long before people stopped by to chew the fat. I could tell they were readers. Quite a few asked about my noodle making. Some even shared their own efforts at making noodles in their kitchen or that of their mothers and grandmothers — getting their personal noodle making experiences might really boost my culinary efforts. So far all I get at home is Bob’s comments and he doesn’t have a clue.

I had a guest book for friends to sign at the WPS Farm Show. Over 70 people added their names to my list on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here’s a sample: Bob and Louise from Campbellsport; Tina and family from Clintonville; Bob and Pat from Bevent; and John and JoAnn from Plymouth. A person from Stephenson, Michigan even signed my book.

One special woman was from Birnamwood. Patti has been sending cards and notes our way for more years than either of us care to count, but this was the first time we ever met face to face. Finally, we could share a hug — a nice benefit of getting to the Farm Show.

For two days, Bob and I visited with friends from all over Wisconsin. Each night we came home exhausted — it’s amazing how talking and laughing can tire a person out. Day three still lay ahead.

On our way home on Wednesday, I pulled our car into a gas station, getting ready to gas up for our drive to Oshkosh the last day of the show. I turned the car off, but when the car ahead pulled out, I decided to pull forward and make room at the busy pumps. That’s when our trouble started.

The car hardly turned over. I tried three times before the engine finally kicked in. No way was I turning it off again. So instead of filling the tank up, I put the car in gear and drove home. We got home safe and sound and parked in the open.

Columnist Susan Manzke's husband, Bob, looks for the source of trouble under the hood of their untrustworthy vehicle.

After turning off the car, I tried starting it again. This time it only wheezed and then not a click or a buzz. We were home, but the engine was dead.  Bob thought if we let the engine cool down we might be able to get it started later.

We went inside, took the dog out, and then we did our chores. After having a bite of supper, we went back to the car and turned the key. Nothing, not a peep, or a squeak. It hadn’t healed while we were away. That lemon of a car had struck again. The repair shop was closed. We wouldn’t be able to get help until the following day.

The weather turned on us, too. Instead of the lovely day we had on Tuesday in Oshkosh, wind and snow were predicted for Thursday. I admitted defeat. Someone higher up was telling us to stay home.

Bob and I didn’t make it to the third day of the WPS Farm Show. We stayed home and grumbled about our car. That morning it was towed to the shop. We waited to hear its fate.  The starter was the problem — just what Bob had predicted. Hundreds of dollars again out of our pockets.

Our children had a lot to say about our car predicament. They want us to replace our lemon and they also want to give input on our next purchase — I’m with them, but Bob’s not ready to give up on the car yet.

“The car’s fine, now,” said Bob “Maybe we’ll buy something else in the fall.”

Let’s hope so or he may end up sleeping in the barn.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;