For the past few days, I’ve been driving my tractor. Really. I’ve had my hired men, Robbie and Rodney, here helping me with fencing and some other jobs around the farm, and they kept using the tractor. Because that’s why I have it–for other people to use it.
Why don’t I use it?
If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know the story. My brother was killed on a tractor (before I was born) when he was 13 years old. It happened on my grandparents’ farm in Oklahoma. It’s the big family tragedy in which I was indoctrinated my whole life. Afterward, my grandparents sold their farm. A life-size portrait of my dead brother hung in our house the entire time I was growing up. I was afraid to turn 13, I’m not kidding! Then I made it to 14, so apparently it wasn’t 13 that was the magic dead zone, it was the tractor! Hello, irrational fear!
Every time someone has been over here using the tractor, I explain to them about my dead brother and the tractor. I did have one of my hired men teach me to drive the tractor a few years ago, but I never felt comfortable with it and I didn’t drive it enough on my own. This past week, I started thinking about it again, watching Robbie and Rodney drive it.
They said, “We’ll teach you to drive it.” I told them about my dead brother. They seemed unfazed by this story. (No one understands!!)
So I climbed on the tractor and they taught me to drive it. They rode around with me on it–but not in circles in the barnyard like the last time I had tractor-driving lessons. They took me to do real stuff, out in the field, stuff they needed done for the jobs they were doing.
The first time I drove it out in the field, Rodney hanging on the side of the tractor to coach me, I said, “I told you my brother died on a tractor.” He completely ignored me, which was a good thing, I’m sure. I kept driving it. Then he jumped off and they started having me drive it by myself.
For the past few days, I drove and drove the tractor–until I finally got comfortable with it, for the first time ever! I spent the whole afternoon with them yesterday while they were working and I insisted on doing all the tractor driving, and then a few times when I got scared to do something that needed done, they insisted that I do it, not letting me off the hook because I got nervous. I hauled a telephone pole out of the field for gate posts. I pushed a small tree down. I hauled a bunch of other stuff around.
I even enjoyed just hanging out on it. Like I didn’t want to get off it.
But eventually I got bored sitting around waiting for them to need me to do something else with it, and I said, “I’m going to just go drive the tractor around, okay?”
Robbie looked at me and said, “It’s your tractor.”
Oh, yeah. So then I drove it just for fun!
Me, on the tractor yesterday afternoon.
I love my tractor!