Dear Little John

Sports Illustrated occasionally puts out an issue titled “Where Are They Now?”, profiling the next chapters of athletes who were once prominent in their given sport.  The latest edition – just this week – fittingly covers the gold-medal winning women’s gymnastics team from the 1996 Atlanta games. I can still picture Kerri Strug landing that perfect vault on a broken ankle; the clinching performance for USA team gold.

If my own friends from twenty years ago wondered “where is Dave now?”, they might stare in disbelief as I navigate my John Deere tractor across acres of ranch property here in Colorado. I like to think of my 42-in. 20HP v-twin hydrostatic front-engine ride as a mean, green, mowing machine. My model D125 chews up the fast-growing grass like a teenager in front of pizza. She’s a veritable beast on wheels.

My wife also has a tractor – a Kubota L4330 “Compact Utility”. Here’s a picture of our babies side-by-side:

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Stop laughing now, and step aside with me for some color fun. If you see a yellow tractor it’s probably manufactured by Caterpillar. If it’s blue it’s probably a New Holland. Red equals International Harvester, (though IH stop making theirs in the mid-1980’s). Then you have Kubota in the bright orange and John Deere in a pleasing shade of green.  As Skittles would say, Taste the Rainbow!

Okay, back to the photo. I confess my little green kitten is dwarfed by my wife’s Transformer mega-monster.  And the stats don’t lie: her Kubota is twice the length and twice the horsepower, and outweighs my Deere by over a ton.  She has a roll bar, which suggests she can go four-wheeling in the fields, or even cartwheel her tractor down sand dunes without the slightest of injuries.  Me?  I pretty much limit my adventure to little circuits around the back lawn.

While I’m at it, I’ll go to full-on confession mode and say my wife is the real tractor pro; not me. She and her Kubota keep the blizzard snow at bay in winter and the pasture grass at a respectable height in summer. My own occasional efforts with the Kubota are far more amateur, but I often make impressive gouges in our dirt driveway.

Last spring my wife rewarded herself with that cab enclosure you see in the photo, complete with side doors and heat.  Maybe I’ll get her a stereo for Christmas.  Maybe I’ll get my John Deere a seat cover.

Country music singer Jason Aldean had a nice hit with “Big Green Tractor”, but I wouldn’t be able to duet with Jason without thinking “Little”.  Craig Morgan also had a hit with “International Harvester”, but I just can’t relate to the lyric “tip your hat to the man UP on the tractor”.  Finally, Kenny Chesney made it big with “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”.  Okay, now we’re talking (er, singing).  Let’s assume my wife feels that way about my Deere, shall we?  I’ll keep wearing the JD colors to show my pride.

Even if it’s just a “little” pride.

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Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to Life In A Word.

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