Grandpa Pashka, Pashka Strochkin, was a major. In a tank regiment. He had retired now, and come back to the village. But without his tank, of course, he was as bored as he could be, didn’t know what to do with himself. He started out by buying a tractor, but what kind of fields do we have around here? Only vegetable plots, and you can’t even turn a tractor round in one of those. So he wandered around the village for days on end, wondering how he could make himself useful, what good deed could he do?
The old ladies of our village are a faint-hearted bunch, though, and there was plenty they needed, what with the potatoes, carrots, and cabbages to plant, and the wood to lay in. Grandpa Pashka decided to take charge of them, since nobody else had them in hand. He stopped by at Granny Nyura’s on his tractor. “It’s a fine thing, you digging your potato trenches with a shovel,” he says. “Let’s plow this up properly. Never despair, I’m here.” Uh-huh. So he knocked down Granny Nyura’s fence and her woodshed, and churned up the ground so bad you could neither walk nor drive across it. It looked like a tank training ground by the time he was finished.
Then he decided to redo Granny Zina’s banya stove, as a sort of surprise. Being hard of hearing, she never heard him proceeding to remodel her banya. But he broke a bunch of bricks while he was dismantling the stove, so Granny Zina had to buy a new cast-iron one, and that ran into some money.
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