Today I parted ways with and old friend of many years. I’ve known and have spent countless hours with this friend since I was a little one myself and know every thing about er.
I basically grew up with this friend but after realizing this friends time has come and gone, I as well as my Dad and Uncle knew it was time to cut er free, and let er go.
Now this may sound a bit silly at first but hear me out, this friend isn’t a family pet, or a family member, or anything to get too terribly attached to, it’s a piece of Iron.
Yeah, I just might have made you say WTH? in your head, or maybe you get where I’m headed here. Either way, let me explain:
This Old Friend is a 1980s model 4600 Cultivator:
Ever since I was barely big enough to sit on my Dads or Uncles lap in the tractor cab in the spring, this cultivator was behind me, tilling the dirt, prepping the fields for planting, etc etc. Through out the years, I can fondly remember a few memories made here and there while pulling it through the field. I learned (as a kid) that even though you have 4 tires on the main frame, if one goes flat, the others will not be of any help getting you to the other end of the field, they work together as a team. I also learned how to change a tire on that day. I can remember leveling off plowed ground with it one spring and coming up on a wet spot in the field, but it didn’t look too bad. While the tractor made it through it just fine, when this old friend hit the spot, it went down..hard, and almost stopped the tractor as well. I also remember learning a very important lesson about changing the sweeps (the part that actually moves the soil around when in the field).
NEVER, and I mean NEVER, attempt to hold the sweep bolt down with your finger if you are using an Air Wrench to take the nut off on the other side!
I’m sure just about every farmer knows what I’m talking about there, but incase you don’t, here’s a short explanation on what happens when you spin that nut off the back side: Since the front of the bolt is constantly rubbed by soil, it wears flat, and gets very sharp edges. Now picture, your finger holding it in place then all of a sudden that bolt spins around at an RPM high enough to slice your finger open in a flash. The usual result is something like
Son of a *#&$^#&^&@#&@*&&^$,
followed by a lot of blood, water to clean the cut, and electrical tape…farmers dont need band aids 😉
The point is, I learned a lot from this old Red Friend, and will miss it. Well, I suppose I wont really miss it, but I will miss the memories, life lessons learned and much more that running this rig in the field taught me.
To loosely quote a conversation between my Uncle and I this past week, I stated that it is just a piece of Iron, which is true, but he replied (in not so many words)
Its more than that. Its your heritage, your memories, it’s where you came from, it’s what got you to where you are today, it’s a part of who you are.
Today, Im finding those words to be very true.
To me this picture says it all. Years ago, when I was a kid, this tractor and cultivator were perfect in every way. Today, the tractor and soil finisher in the background are the widely considered to be the preferred tools to use. I’m not saying either is good or bad, just that everything has its time. And for this old Friend, its time has come on our farm. So maybe, someday, my kids will look back on the tractor and soil finisher in the background with memories of their own, just as I am doing now. Maybe, they will have their own stories to tell their kids (and you), as I do. But one thing is for sure, they too will eventually have to say:
Goodbye Old Friend, and thanks for the Memories