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.
My husband has been giving our eldest a drive to the university 4 mornings a week for the past two months. She’s perfectly capable of getting there herself via the bus, which is earlier than she needs and takes an hour and a half, but still, it’s what students without drivers licenses gotta do. Then she broke a bunch of toes, and couldn’t walk down to the bus, so he gave her rides for a couple of weeks till the toes healed. That was about 6 weeks ago. So why is he still driving into town at 830 every morning when he normally doesn’t leave the house before about 10 (he works a lot of late nights)? Because he loves her and wants to make her life a little easier? Yeah, sure. But this is, like, almost every day…he is SO not a morning person….the thing is, he finds he’s getting more done by heading in to the office on a regular schedule. Having the reason to be going in that much earlier gets him out of bed. What benefits her is actually good for business. That’s why he’s still doing it. That and his assistant wisely has the coffee ready to go the second he arrives :).
All of which is a roundabout way of saying I can see why your Dad got the tractor. Sure, he knew he could help you out with the loader aspect of it. But heck, it’s got a lot of uses for him too. I mean, closed cab and a/c in the summer during hot dusty haying? You bet he wanted that tractor.
I have never heard of Hoosier colloquial writing before. I thought Hoosiers was some kind of college sports team…
…and that whole story about driving to university might make more sense if I add that his office is about 5 minutes from the campus – he wouldn’t be doing this if it was the opposite direction.
Dad is from Indiana. Being a Hoosier is a point of pride, apparently. This is very different from the St. Louis usage of the word…somewhat synonymous with white trash. And there is some interesting history involved there too. I’ll leave that research to you as I have not been able to verify it yet. One might observe a tacky Christmas light display and say, “Wow. They totally hoosiered up their yard.” The verb is very different than the proper noun. But I guess it is more fun than that. You may not want to go somewhere and say, “That place is full of hoosiers.” Still not a proper noun. And as I saw on a forum a moment ago, it is particularly fun when you hear hoosiers calling other people hoosiers. lol
We had a ball reading The Hoosier Schoolmaster out loud. There were several times we had to call in dad for assistance sounding out the phonetic spellings. For example, “I ‘low you done a good job…” is not low as in low down, it’s a shortening of allow. And heck, the “I” is a shortened I’ll. Our oldest was probably 8 at the time so it took some ‘splainin’. Hoosier colloquial is probably not an appropriately descriptive term. Just a little joke.
Whatever the differences there may have been between the state of Indiana and the workers of St. Louis, the diction is quite similar then and now, depending on where you are in St. Louis county…and beyond. But then, I have both been told I have a Southern drawl and have been called a Yankee and invited to take my carpetbag back up North. So maybe it’s all relative.
Put The Awakening Land by Conrad Richter on your reading list if you haven’t already. The original is much better, it seems the publisher has edited some of the language in subsequent editions to make it easier to understand. The point of the story was to preserve the language of the Ohio Valley settlers.
LOL – My dad rarely buys anything for himself and if your dad is anything like my dad we may never know! My dad, a man of few words, just smirks and says with a chuckle “I’ll never tell”! The only hint you sometimes get is a flicker of a beam on his face when you talk about the new item. Check it out, I bet you will see a flicker on your dads too! 😉
I never heard of Hoosier before either – like the poem and I downloaded the book. If Canada can have Hosers, Indiana can have Hoosiers for sure! The term Hoser was make popular by Cdn comedians Bob and Doug McKenzie in their 80’s Take Off to the Great White North TV skits. Wiki says “The most popular origin story holds that in outdoor ice hockey before ice resurfacers, the losing team in a hockey game would have to hose down the rink after a game to make the ice smooth again. Thus the term “hoser” being synonymous with “loser”. Another story holds that the term referred to farmers of the Canadian prairies, who would siphon gasoline from farming vehicles with a hose during the Great Depression of the 1930s” Now off to read about the origin or Hoosier…
Uh, we found this mouse…
I have traveled the length and breadth of Canada and only one place made fun of the way I talk. Well they may have tried in Amos, Quebec but I couldn’t understand them.
“An the goblens ‘ll get you ef you Don watch out! ” (i actually have the complete works)