Tractor Parade, Indiana State Fair, 2010
The farm I grew up on was fairly small and our equipment fleet could be counted on one hand, but they were all green. We were a John Deere family, through and through.
The farm that my parents bought in 1967, and Dad still lives on, came with a John Deere B Series tractor and that was the one that I drove most often. I was a pretty scrawny kid and had to use one of my legs and a foot to jam the tractor into gear - the gear box was on the floor, in front of the seat, while the other foot was on the clutch. It's amazing that it all worked and I didn't tumble off.
My tractor chores involved moving wagons full of corn to the bin and empty ones back to wait for the combine to fill up, repeat as needed, and mowing the corn stalks after harvest. Moving wagons felt stressful to me - you had to have everything lined up perfectly and timing was everything and generally their was a grizzled neighbor or a little brother watching. On the other hand I adored the solitude of mowing stalks. I could look back and see my progress and felt like I was doing something substantial - cleaning the cow barn didn't bring the same sense of satisfaction.
Best of all I loved that Dad mounted a radio on the tractor. I didn't have a record player and we didn't listen to much music at home. I could turn the radio up and sing at the top of my little lungs. I still know all of the words to the 'Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog' song, my favorite to belt out.
Parade, Indiana State Fair 2010
I always try to be at the State Fair in time for the daily parade. The parade features lots of fun stuff, but I'm all about the tractors. I've been lucky enough to hitch a ride in the parade the last few years. You are given the instructions to wave and smile - ha! Try and stop me! Riding in that parade is one of my favorite experiences of the year.