When I tell people that I grew up in Michigan people often think of snow, cars, and lakes. All of which I wholeheartedly agree with but, growing up in West Michigan is different. The western side of the state has a lot of small towns and farm country. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but my dad did. The Clawson Farm...
He is the oldest of four brothers who all worked that farm of over one hundred acres. They worked every day before and after school. My great grandfather was also a school teacher, along with being a farmer on that farm. One of the tractors my father used on the old farm was a John Deere. That tractor had a hold on dad (at least the brand). As he grew older, he began to rebuild these older John Deere’s out of, what I remember, piles of rusty old parts. He made them look and run like new.
Dad became a master mechanic and machinist. He spent most of his career working for GM. He’s been retired for about 12 years now and still gets up at 6:00 every morning to work in his shop. One of the things he likes to do is create miniature tractors out of old nuts, bolts, and machine parts. The photo today is one he made for me some time ago. Even with his failing eyesight he’s still a pro at it.
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of time with him, but now that he’s older, I’ve grown closer. Something that I really cherish. I was never a tractor guy but, the one theme that I can draw on is the old John Deere.
We were shopping downtown this week-end and noticed that Dallas now has bike rentals all over town painted in green & yellow very similar to John Deere green. It made me think of dad and brought a smile to my face.
It isn’t the tractor that is important but the bonding. I’ve grown to appreciate old tractors and old cars. I’m not a metal head but I love the styles of cars gone by. I especially like that it’s something we can talk about.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to bond. Sometimes people feel alone because they think no one cares about the things they do. One thing working in sales has taught me is to always find something to connect with people on at an emotional level. For most, it probably won’t be tractors. But that’s what makes it special...
Parental relationships can be messy and difficult even when we’re older but, if we put the effort into them, they can be the most rewarding... I love you dad and am proud of you!
Love always friends...