My brother and I planned to spend some time together on Saturday, writer to writer, and we planned to meet in Uncle Bob’s garden. My mother gave Uncle Bob the head’s up that we were coming, to which he said “what are those two up to?”
As it turned out, Uncle Bob wasn’t even home when we got there, so we ding-toed around and I said “hey, take some pictures of me with a pitch fork. I’ll be right back.” I went into O’Pa’s barn and then I remembered the pitch fork wasn’t there; it was in the little barn where Uncle Bob keeps his dump truck and O’Pa’s 1937 John Deere model AO tractor with the stove-in radiator.
Except O’Pa’s tractor was gone.
I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach and I panicked for about 10 seconds. I know I’ve had a nightmare like this before. Then, composing my thoughts and straightening my apron, I got the pitchfork and exited the barn. We goofed around with various pitchfork poses, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Uncle Bob had sold my tractor.
As we finished up examining the garlic and the rhubarb, we heard Uncle Bob pull in and we went around the house to say hello. I could hardly hold back the tears when I said “Where’s O’Pa’s tractor?”
Uncle Bob explained that he had sold it to a man who restored vintage tractors. He said it had taken up a lot of space in the barn and the parts and tools needed to restore it were beyond the scope of his own fix-it abilities.
“But Uncle Bob, I’m going to be a farmer some day and it was my dream to use that tractor on my farm!” I said.
Cool as all get out, Uncle Bob responded with “you didn’t tell me that was what you were planning. Besides, we’ve got a better tractor in the barn. One that runs.”
With the spark plugs and power take off in my brain hearing “you can use my Massey Ferguson tractor someday” I decided to let it go.
“OK, you’re right; I didn’t tell you about my dream. But in the future, make sure you tell me before you decide to sell anything else. Like pitch forks and cultivators and sauerkraut slicers.”
Uncle Bob agreed to let me know the next time he was in the mood for selling stuff and we parted company. I spent the rest of the weekend doing the things I do when I’m at home, trying to keep that tractor pushed into the farthest recesses of my mind. My father and I laughed about what a bad driver O’Pa had been and the number of times he’d come chugging around the corner and driven right into a pine tree. I’d seen it once myself. That old man was notorious for ignoring the stop sign at the end of the Edgecomb Road and merging slowly on to Main St, not even looking to see if there was any traffic coming. He’d just cruise right through the stop sign and say “So what?”
The lesson for me in all of this was the importance of verbalizing my dreams. If something is even remotely possible, talking about it gets it from my brain to my mouth to someone else’s brain. No one is ever going to help you achieve your dreams if they don’t know about them. I just don’t want you to wake up one day with an empty tractor barn and your own Uncle Bob saying “so what?” Start talking.
What color is your tractor?