I REALLY LIKE JOHN DEERE TRACTORS. This admiration began during my first job out of college when I viewed a vast field of these green machines in De Kalb, Illinois, during a Farm Progress Show. The mechanized workhorses came in so many variations and several vintage tractors appeared like dwarfs when mixed with the spanking new 4-WD behemoths. It was a most serious game watching the salesmen work the farmers. I was captivated by their spirited negotiations where the salesmen extolled the great financing terms that were available and the farmers skeptically circled the machines kicking the tires. There were many odd characters that came in many shapes and sizes. Just like the green machines.
Moving ahead twenty years, after successes in the automotive OEM supply business, I decided to buy my own John Deere tractor for my gentleman’s farm located on the bluffs of Lake Michigan.
I flashed back to that farm show in Illinois and put on my skeptical mask as I negotiated with the salesman. Truth be told, I was excited and hooked like a kid on Christmas morning. I’m afraid it readily showed. The only thing it lacked was a cup holder. I had finally arrived, or so I imagined. I even paid cash.
Roto-tilling, mowing, and snow-blowing were at my command. The engine’s fuel-injection led the list of the salesman’s pitch where he guaranteed me that the tractor would start every time. That had been the real clincher for me. Admittedly, it was a much smaller version than those behemoths in Illinois, but it was my tractor. The yellow molded foam seat came with a strut-type suspension and together they handled my middle-aged girth with surprising ease and comfort. Hopping up on that tractor to do the chores was such a pleasure. I was a city boy turned farmer.
It was a nice chapter in my life, but several events appeared on the horizon in the form of the perfect storm. That describes 2009 - the year I lost the farm. This vortex also consumed a marriage and most of my earthly possessions. It was a most difficult time. I began reading and writing and soon came to embrace the Buddhist philosophy that, “you only lose what you cling to." A decade has now passed, and while this philosophy is most insightful, between us kids, I still miss my John Deere.