Riding On The Tractor With Dad
The tractor was old and dad started it with a few strong turns of a crank. I can still hear the chug-a-chug of the engine once it fired up. It was a bright orange Allis-Chalmers that was older than my dad but it looked brand new. That’s how dad likes to keep things.
The house I grew up in had a big yard which meant dad mowed a lot. Each year once the grass started to grow dad spent hours on that bright orange tractor and our immaculately manicured yard was proof of his dedication. Every hill and ditch got the attention from dad it deserved and no uneven blade of grass was left in his wake.
On special days before I outgrew the space on the black vinyl seat between dad’s legs and the noisy manual stick shift I would get to ride with him. He would guide the tractor by pulling the stiff black steering wheel left and right while I held onto his thighs and the large wheel wells that were high on either side of us. Once we slowed down he would sometimes let me steer but not when we were going full speed. That tractor might of been old but it wasn’t slow.
Most of the time there was too much noise to talk but nothing really needed to be said. I was with my dad and together we were on an adventure. Magically the laps around our familiar yard were transformed into something new and exciting. Warm sunshine covered our faces while the vibrations of the old tractor moved every part of us that could shake. Strong, intermittent smells of exhaust and fresh cut grass came and gone as we made our way through the pattern my dad could have followed in his sleep.
The time spent with dad on his tractor was special but I didn’t realize that for a while. Most things dad did for me seemed normal, like they were supposed to happen and for me they always did. It’s funny, as I get older I continue to realize just how awesome my dad really is and all of the ways he’s impacted my life (and still is). Dad, here’s to you and all of the times we’ve had together — especially while on the tractor. Happy Father’s Day.