Sherry Stocking Kline
January 8, 2009
I grew up around tractors. Lots of them. Big ones. Little ones. ‘Tricycle’ front end ones like my dad used to cultivate the cattle feed and squatty little red and green tractors with big wide fenders perfect for children to ride along with their parents.
I don’t remember my first tractor ride…
I don’t remember my first tractor ride. I was much too young for that to ‘stick’ in my memory.
I do remember countless hours riding on the fender, hanging on, then getting off when mom or dad stopped (yes, they had his and hers tractors) and running in the furrow behind the plow, my bare feet pounding the sun-warmed damp earth.
I watched out for fishing worms (and picked them up if there was any chance we might go fishing soon). Little baby bunny rabbits ran to get away from the tractors (and me).
Back then, the long, muley-eared jackrabbits were a common sight in Sumner County, Kansas. Now, jackrabbits are pretty rare. I’ve not seen one in a good, long, time, but I have it on good authority that they are still around.
Nowadays children would be taken to a baby sitter…
Nowadays children would be taken to a baby sitter while mom and dad worked, but mom was a ‘work at home’ (or in the field) mom, and I went along. Mom and Dad’s day began at 5:00 a.m. when Mom and our collie dog Lassie brought the dairy cattle in to be milked.
After they milked, dad took the truck with silage in it out to the pasture and the feed bunks to feed the cattle while mom came in and got ready to feed the people in our home, which in the time period I’ve got in mind included Dad, myself, and my brother, Gary.
After breakfast, if it was spring, summer, or fall, Dad and most often Mom would head to the field on a tractor. Not the fancy ones like they have now with air conditioning and GPS, just plain red, then later yellow, and much later the green John Deere’s made their way onto our farm.
I always felt sorry for city kids…
Those were good days, and good memories. I know some city kids would feel sorry for me, no swimming pool around the corner, and no park to go swinging in.
But I always felt sorry for city kids (like my own kids later on) who didn’t get to ride on tractors and combines each summer, who had to play in a postage-stamp-sized back yard instead of a quarter section with pasture and creeks full of pollywogs and crawdad, and who never got to watch baby chicks scurry around after the mama hen, and baby calves grow from awkward to adult.