When my grandson, Carter, comes to visit I hitch the trailer to my tractor add go out for a ride through the pastures. On our ride we will look for the sheep and see how they are doing. This summer Zach, grandson number two, will be able to join us on our rides around the farm. My farm isn’t very big, it’s only 13 acres but still offers a great time for the grandsons and time spent with Grandpa.
A few years ago we were offered to buy a ’52 Ford 8n from a family member. I grew up riding on and driving Ford tractors on my Grandpa’s farm. I remember sitting on knees of my uncles taking rides around the farm. As I got older and started driving the tractor on my own I learned on my Grandpa’s Ford 800. There was only two gears I needed to know. Third and reverse. Neutral on the 800 was vertical, so with the shifter pulled up, third was a push forward and reverse was pulled back. Simple enough as a starter tractor. With the trailer in tow I would go out into the fields trapping pocket gophers. I would help Grandpa get rid of the gopher mounds coving the hay fields. With a little driving time and experience the first piece of equipment I pulled with a tractor was a Farmhand hay rake. Another simple piece of equipment for teaching a young person how to drive a tractor. The rake wheels that windrowed the hay were ground driven. No moving parts for the inexperienced driver. Just drive until the field was all raked and that could be 10 to 20 acre fields pacifying several hours of driving excitement. As I got older the tractors got bigger and the equipment more complex. My Grandpa’s biggest tractor was a Ford Commander 6000. When I sat in the seat I felt like a ruler commanding a view of my farming kingdom.
Today I hitch my utility trailer to my tractor and take my grandsons out for a ride. Their rides will be different than mine were 45 years ago. My son-in-law works for John Deere in customer support and part of his job is to read all the reports on farm accidents. He reads to many reports of preventable accidents. As he states “A tractor has one seat and so there should be only one person on the tractor.” Some of the reports also describe children falling out of a cab of a tractor and being injured and killed. I respect his view on safety, his children will ride in the trailer. Memories are memories regardless where they ride.
With the rides I have given Carter, I saw him playing with my 1/16 scale Ford tractor and wagon one day. I noticed he had two small people in his play world. One was on the tractor and one in the wagon.. I asked him about the people and he responded “This one is Grandpa and this one is Carter.” Play imitating life! The memories are being seared into his memory. As his family travels down the road he will spot a red bellied Ford and say “There’s a tractor like Grandpa’s.” My son-in-law says “He can like any brand of tractor, but he needs to remember its the green tractors that pay the bills!”
When Photo Challenge posted the challenge for week 11 I thought of Carter playing with my toys and decided to recreate his tractor ride memory. Enjoy Carter’s memory.