The Tractor and I


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!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 5, 2014  

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17 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 7-5

    Doesn’t it feel awesome to conquer a life long fear? Such a sense of empowerment. Mine was learning to fly.

  2. 7-5

    :lol: Good for you!!!! Isn’t it amazing when we conquer our fears? And a tractor is the best thing to have. I’m still looking for a small one, we just have 3 acres. But I would use the crap out of it.

  3. 7-5

    Yay for you Suzanne! I love my tractor too!

  4. 7-5

    Yes tractors are the greatest tool to have on a farm. Good to see you using it.

  5. 7-5

    Yay! Good for you!!! :snoopy:

  6. 7-5

    Good for u!! So sorry this happened to your brother! we got a kabota with cab etc so I feel safer learning to use it. I have heard lots of stories of accidents. Stay off hillsides!!

  7. 7-5

    The tractor becomes you.You’ve never looked prettier.You were celebrating freedom in your own way.Freedom from fear.

  8. 7-5

    I’m so glad for you! And proud of you! :snoopy:

  9. 7-5

    Good for you!

    And look how happy you are in that pic! Who needs a man?


  10. 7-5

    I have a tractor, smaller but I love it too, I hook my trailer up to my tractor and put all of my tools that I need to do what ever job I am working on and do my thing.

  11. 7-5

    you go, Suzanne!

  12. 7-5

    Well done, You! It is so hard to face our fears.

  13. 7-6

    Suzanne, you are my hero. I’ve been reading your blog for years but I pretty much never comment. I recently got divorced and am on my own for the first time in a decade, re-learning how to be independent. The way you’ve conquered your fears, and worked so hard to be self-reliant is really inspirational. Thank you for telling your story.

  14. 7-6

    Good for you! There should be nothing on the farm that you can ‘t do or use!!! Even fencing by yourself…..

  15. 7-6

    You look good on your tractor!

  16. 7-6

    Well it is about time to get going as tractor operator. Take your time, drive slowly with loads and keep the bucket low. Keep off your slopes till you get the feeling for the tractor. Never depend on tractor brakes to stop because they are not that good at all times. The best safety feature is your brain telling you hey that’s too steep or sidling to be safe. Mark

  17. 7-7

    Use caution, and remember: You have a tractor with a roll bar and a seatbelt. It’s likely that neither was standard equipment when your brother’s tragic accident occurred. If you’ve got to work on a slope, buckle up!
    Good for you! We own a tractor of similar size, and it’s both extremely useful and a lot of fun to operate.

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