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Driving Miss Daisy -- in a tractorPosted Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 4:20 PM
I probably never would have driven a tractor, had it not been for my husband's comment.
"I guess, since you're a girl, you couldn't do that, could you?" he said, with a mile-wide grin.
Now, deep down, I knew it was a challenge, one he had long learned I couldn't resist. Even with my wise neighbor's advice echoing in my head, "Never learn to do a job on the farm, unless you want to do it for life," I fell prey to his bait.
Soon driving "just through the gate" turned to raking hay, turned to "disking just a little" and eventually becoming long days of field cultivating, grain-cart driving and trucking.
I realized the upside to my new job pretty quickly. One of the great perks was being able to stay home with my two growing boys. On the days we were working, with the invention of cabbed tractors I could easily strap in a car seat next to me and spend the day with boy A or boy B.
My youngest was just 6 weeks old when he was strapped in for a week of wheat harvest, as I drove a grain cart hauling wheat from the combine to a waiting truck.
By trial and error we learned the art of working with children involved packing enough to eat and drink.
It became routine for one of us to take one boy, while the other parent took the other (which is probably why we never considered a third!). Unfortunately, I've forgotten much more than I remember, but I treasure the days spent together.
Through the years, I learned a lot of their thoughts and intricate details of their lives while riding on a tractor. It was a place where we discussed subjects ranging from Monica Lewinsky to the fine art of baling hay. It's where we discussed farming, baby kittens, basketball, what they wanted to be when they grew up and eventually -- why I was driving all wrong.
It was at that point in their lives when they stopped being adorable passengers.
It started out innocently enough.
One day, my job was to drill grass seed into a back field. The reason I was given such a precision job, one I had never done before, and ironically would never do again, was because this was a way, way far back field.
It could never be seen from the road or by any other human being. The only ones who would see my crooked, winding rows would be myself, my 5-year-old passenger, my husband and a few thousand deer and turkeys.
The steep terraces and tight turns were a little different than I normally encountered, and I admit, I had a few problems. But the seed didn't run out before I finished the field, so I considered a job well done -- until later.
As they often did, as soon as he got home, my youngest headed to his room to pull out a smaller scale version of my tractor and drill. It was cute -- until he starting talking.
"Look Dad, I'm turning into the hitch and scratching the paint, just like Mommy did all day with her drill," he exclaimed proudly.
Needless to say, Daddy wasn't near as excited about it as my 5-year-old ...
Did I mention I've never been asked to drill anything again?
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