Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Ol' John




My dad was raised on a ranch in the 50's and 60's. At the age of nine(!!), he started driving the tractor. He wasn't strong enough to put it in gear, but he could steer and pull it out of gear (in effect, putting on the brakes). That became one of his main jobs for the next several years and he loved it.

Last year, he found his tractor (at least the same make and model) on Craig's List. He bought it. My sister took this picture when he pulled it into the driveway and I think she captured that kid-in-a-candy-store look perfectly.

Over the next several months, Dad purchased three more of these John Deere's--sometimes driving great distances to pick them up. Now, my parents have nearly two acres of land which, by all accounts, does not warrant a need for four tractors. My mother is thinking of starting a tractor's addiction recovery group--or at least one for spouses of the addicts.

When I was visiting last week, my dad instructed me to get up into the seat of one of the tractors. Okay, I can sit on a fun, old tractor. He turned it on and I panicked a little.

"No, Dad, no! I don't know how to stop it! Wait, I've never driven a tractor before. Oh, what are you doing? Daaaddd!"

I could see myself plowing into a neighbor's house or an oncoming car or a 50 year old tree. Nonetheless, he wooed me by having me push this lever that raised the blade, this lever that moved some other big rusty part. Oh, I can move parts, I just can't drive the thing. He's keeps tinkering around, pushing this, turning that, and suddenly I was moving. "No, Dad, no! I don't know how to stop it! Wait, I've never driven a tractor before. Oh, what are you doing? Daaaddd!"

I looked over and realized that he was walking next to me, at a rather leisurely pace. Oh. Maybe this isn't as crazy dangerous as I thought.

I took the tractor for a spin--I even worked up the nerve to go faster. It was a hoot. As I pulled up next to Dad and turned off the engine, I told him I would buy it. I do have .09 acres that need to be worked, after all!

In the meantime, my son was learning to work another tractor. He had to put the entire weight of his body to brake and turn, but, boy oh boy did he have fun.

I may have to get one of these.

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