I’m planning to write a series in the coming few publications aptly titled “Maybe its not just about the iron” This series will share my observations and stories about the life blood to the “tractor” passion, the people.
No one can admit to having the perfect job. I do have to say my current work situation is perfect for me in the case of feeling the pulse of the “antique tractor” world. It’s probably of no surprise, I don’t get through a day without talking about tractors. Many people that I associate with in my employed industry share my interests. I drive a semi for a local grain elevator. One of my most favorite aspects of the job, is on farm grain pick up. Once my trailer is staged under the auger, I’m going to be loading for a measured amount of time. This is a great opportunity to visit with a farmer. What of course is a great topic to discuss as an ice breaker?
Even though on farm pick up is my favorite part of the job, my employer doesn’t always agree it’s his best choice to send me. I have a reputation, now, of being a “tractor nut” and the farmers enjoy seeing my truck arrive. I have been distracted during loading and scaled in, at the elevator, overloaded. I am continually reminded to stay focused on my job. I can’t help the fact our customer base and I have a common passion!
I recently loaded for a farmer I had looked forward to talking with. This particular farmer is a fellow collector, in fact his experiences are well documented by a skilled writer I admire. He transports most of his grain himself, since he owns semis. I was pretty excited to actually get to visit one on one. All the other times we had encountered one another were always at shows. The hustle and bustle doesn’t always permit a quality conversation.
There may not be honor among thieves, but I hope there is among writers. Keith Ladage is Cindy’s other half. There isn’t much material I can share that Cindy hasn’t written about, even if I would do that. Cindy is far more advanced in the writing world and has actually been published. An accomplishment I still strive toward. I would hope any of this blog’s following reads her articles as well.
Keith and I talked tractor, but we discovered other commonality. I already was aware of his interest in aircraft. It was fun listening to his flight stories and having the opportunity to share mine from years ago.
He shared pictures of his favorite tractor pieces and talked about his future plans of restoring, buying, and selling. I had to smile, wondering how he planned to have time to restore though. He and his lovely wife are well traveled. I highly doubt Cindy has plans to slow down for some time to come. Keith likes to get around to shows and they are a great match. I’m wondering when he’s going to have time to be in the shop.
Keith’s brother, Wayne, is another of our elevator customers. Wayne doesn’t show tractors like Keith, but he does have several nice old tractors around his farm. He still uses his here and there so his collection isn’t really retired. I have made many on farm pick ups for Wayne and can’t help noticing there is always a different tractor powering the auger when we load out. I have to wonder if its just a certain tractor’s turn for a work out or he does it knowing I appreciate seeing the different tractors operate.
I remember two years ago after he had come to realize how much I enjoy antique tractors, I got a private tour of the whole collection. He waited until all the other drivers had gone on their way. After looking around, making sure the coast was clear, he slowed the loading operation down and we were off looking at what he had. Of course I took my load into the elevator, overloaded!
The elevator has a few more farmers that enjoy having the classics. Bob Hogan always has a different auger tractor for me to check over. Tim Seifert has a beautifully restored Farmall 856 I actually got pirated away to view during a wedding reception I was attending at his house. I can’t say as it was a kidnapped distraction that was unexpected though. The couple we were honoring know me quite well to expect such things. In fact my 656 is housed in the machine shed on their farm.
It’s obvious, I don’t get through a day without talking tractor. I would think this writing documents the reasoning. Just another day in the life of a country boy with the tractor passion