I have gotten a lot of things from my father. If memory serves, my first paid roofing job with dad was when I was 8. Like teaching a man to fish, roofing paid for my college education…well, the balance of the loan anyway. Look at the title of this post. Ask my dad to recite “Our Hired Girl” by James Whitcomb Riley. I have an appreciation for that poetry (in fact, any Hoosier colloquial writing I can find) because of my father. The only poem my kids are likely to learn from me is “You Can Call Me Al”. I can’t begin to list the number of ways I have benefited from knowing my father. But it didn’t get me a free tractor. Access to one maybe…
Why did dad buy the tractor? Was it because he knew I was paralyzed into inaction and needed the loader tractor just to get some stuff done around the farm including, but not limited to, moving round bales and bedding his horses? Yup. I’d say that about sums it up.
In fact, I can do better.
I wuz skeered. Bad skeered.
But dad said,
“Clear out o’ my way!They’s time fer work, an’ time fer play!”
So I cleared out of his way. What if I screwed up? I mean, I don’t want to buy some used tractor just to have the clutch go out. But I don’t want the payments on a new $26k loader tractor and what if that one is a mistake? What if I buy that only to find out it’s too small? Before you know it we were staring down the barrel of a new 60 horse red one with a cab or a new 74 horse yellow one with a cab for around $45k. Sheesh! That happened fast!
$40k. 8 years of easy payments and a warranty. But what if I buy the wrong color tractor? What if something happens to me and Julie needs to sell the tractor? What is the resale value of the yellow tractor from Korea with a mechanical self-leveling bucket? I dunno. What if the tractor had green paint? I dunno.
So I went to work. I worked around the farm. I flew off to important meetings in important places. I wrote my ever-pretentious, self-aggrandizing blog. I leaked to my readers and friends that Julie and I were thinking about buying a loader tractor. The reply was universal. “Go forth and get thyself a loader tractor.” But it was like the seventh day or something. I rested.
I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
I looked. I lingered. I dithered. I made loud proclamations.
I did nothing.
So dad did.
Was it pity? Was it grief? I don’t think so. I think it was just something we needed on the farm. Right now I am accumulating cattle. I have a little equipment but not much. Dad has most of the equipment. All of the hay equipment. The big tractors. I have the machine sheds. I have the horse stalls. I would really prefer to think this is a multi-generational cooperative effort. And I hope to have another 30 years of working beside my father as I continue to puzzle him out.
But he seems to know me pretty well.
Now before we finish up today let’s consider one other possibility. One that seems so far-fetched it nearly escaped our notice. An idea brought to us by our friend Kari. Maybe…just maybe…maybe dad wanted a new tractor.