Drive a Deere

When I told my husband late last fall that I really wanted to drive the John Deere tractor that was parked in my brother-in-laws farm-yard he really didn’t take me seriously. At least until I told him “no I really want to drive that tractor, I am not sure why but I just do!”

At first he did not reply one way or the other, but quietly went about his way, bringing in firewood, playing with the kids and dogs, working in the garage. I too went about my own way, fixing chili for the kids and chatting with my dear friend Robin in the warm kitchen.

About an hour later my husband walked in and said “OK, if you want to drive the tractor, let’s go!”

“Oh ya!” I cheered as I ran to the yard with my friend shaking her head in disbelief running after me.

Learning to Drive


I climbed aboard and immediately felt different. The cab was actually kind of fancy with lots of levers and pedals of sorts.

My husbnad began to explain the inner workings of the machine and showed me how to turn it on, raise and lower the bucket (which was great fun) and then how to slip the big green machine into gear.

At first I lurched forward but soon was able to smooth out the ride. I waved at my friend and grinned from ear to ear as I lumbered around the farm-yard in my “Big Green Tractor,” the silly words to Kenny Chesney’s song ringing in my ears “she thinks my tractor’s sexy!”

After all the excitement was over I asked my husband exactly how he knew how to run the tractor. He grinned at me and confessed that he came out and read the manual and drank a beer, viola my teacher! I laughed at him and thought about how this was typical Dan and Jackie stuff. I come up with the crazy ideas and he finds a way to indulge me, often as my teacher.

Grandpa O'Connor by his tractor and original farmstead


That night as I was drifting off to sleep it hit me why I wanted to drive the tractor badly enough to put it on my bucket list. Tractor riding was my favorite activity with my beloved Grandpa Bill. As kids we’d jump from the car and rush into his big arms, pulling the scent of him grass, dirt and Ivory Soap, as he scooped us into his arms. Next we’d get to climb up his long jean covered legs and he would flip us over.

Instantly we’d cry “can we have a tractor ride?” and he’d grin and say  “certainly!” We’d run to the old dilapidated old house, leaping through the tall grass and he’d slowly walk over, his 85-year-old legs refusing to run after us.

The tractor itself was not much to look at. Ancient probably when he bought it years before, it was almost a dinosaur by neighbor standards, but to us it was magnificent. You could not tell what the original color was because it was currently a deep crimson rust. The smoke stack on top covered with the rusty remains of a can of Green Giant Green Beans announced the start of the trusty engine.

Grandpa would climb up on the wobbly tractor seat and we’d scamper on up settling into his lap. Grandpa would pull a few levers and twist a dial or two and somehow the old dinosaur would leap to life and off we’d go on our adventure through the farm-yard and down the dirt driveway. I always felt so grown up sitting there with grandpa and so very safe in his arms. The world was right and well when I rode down the road with grandpa.

The author and her Grandpa


So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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