Many of you have commented on the blogs featuring Old Red. Well, this is perhaps the final installment regarding Old Red, although there may be a children’s book later on.
Old Red was introduced to you in October of 2009. He (I’ve decided he’s a boy- mostly because girls don’t have plows) was born in 1948. That’s getting a little long in the tooth for tractors, so early this year I decided to restore Old Red to his original condition. A good friend of mine who is an expert mechanic introduced me to his friend Dick, a cowboy kind of man with a massive mustache and expert mechanical skill. He said he could take on the project, and so began the journey of Old Red.
For our family, this project was more than just restoring an old tractor, it was more like sending a good friend off to rehab; knowing that emotional detachment would be felt, but hoping that the professionals could make him whole again. Since the tractor isn’t too much older than I am, I was kind of hoping that the experience for Old Red might rub off on me (though I’m told I do look much younger than my age).
On the morning of December 9, 2011, as I was getting ready to leave for work, Ginger said I couldn’t go yet. I was thinking, “Hot diggity, did the suit I was wearing have the desired effect?” “No,” she said, “At 8:00 a.m. someone from our church was delivering a gift that I would not want to miss.” Okay, everyone knows I love chocolate chip cookies and it is Christmas season, so I would wait a few minutes. It’s now 8:15, and I’m running out of patience- a virtue I’m still working on- so I start pacing. As I walk toward the front door, I see coming down the driveway, almost in stealth mode, a shining red tractor, accompanied by three burly gentlemen. The tractor looked vaguely familiar, but could it be Old Red?
I burst out the door and with a smile on my face from ear to ear, went running toward it like the father of the prodigal son. I’m sure any neighbor watching would have seen a grown man in a suit and Carhart coat heading toward Old Red looking like a ballet dancer doing swan jumps. A visual they will soon want to forget. It was indeed Old Red coming home.
It was mighty cold outside, but I didn’t care. This 1948 tractor looked like it had just come off the show room floor. In previous blogs you can see the process Old Red went through- he was stripped to the innards and put back together. I admire those like Dick who can do this sort of work. I gave him a manly hug and we kind of did a dance around the tractor in celebration.
After much fawning and drooling over Old Red, I started him up (electric start now restored), and backed it up the driveway. I moved my car out of the garage because Old Red could no longer be out in the cold, and made the slow journey to the garage. I had stared at the controls, all brightly painted, the new battery box, the newly painted plows, EVERYTHING had been restored to original and he ran like a top. I had a strange sensation as I suddenly thought of my Dad- passed on now, but whose spirit I felt close. I could sense a broad smile from him and a nod of acceptance and gratitude.
I spent the next hour just poking and admiring, smiling and being reflective at the same time. This is a tractor of a hundred lessons; perhaps today the lesson is that it’s never too late to have a restoration, a renewal, and a brand new whack at life.
Long live Old Red!