Don’t work on your tan from the seat of your tractor

Published 11:44am Friday, May 4, 2012

It seems to me that most of life’s problems can be solved from the seat of a tractor.
A 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee, to be exact.
Steadily chugging around the larger of our farm’s two fields, “Chester” is a tractor’s tractor, a no-nonsense, rugged fella that disdains baths or, from experience, the shrieks of a female who forgot to throttle back as she winds around the trunks of mature oaks that respond to her intrusion by thwacking her across the head with their heavy, lower limbs.
You can’t imagine how many broken pairs of Dollar Store sunglasses lie beneath those trees.
In the 12 years that we’ve owned Chester, even after servicing from the tractor guy (who makes house calls), his brakes have never worked properly, if at all. And, naturally, while the PTO is turning and spinning the blades of the bush hog with great force, Chester will run you right into the side of the barn if you don’t think fast enough to disengage the gear first, before trying to stop. He suffers no fools and fools, Chester has told me plainly, have no business being on a tractor.
He’s right: at least once a year we read with alarm the fate of someone terribly injured or killed simply from making one ill-fated mistake. I take seriously the most important piece of advice I’ve ever received (perhaps in my life) from my late neighbor, who at 80, drove Chester home when we purchased but had no idea how to operate him.

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