One of my earliest memories of driving was on Grandpa Roe's Massey Ferguson. I was too small at the time to reach the pedals. So I would sit on his lap and "operate" the steering wheel while grandpa worked the clutch and brake. I don't remember how old I was then, but I felt like the most important person in the world to be able to help drive that tractor. Plus, for a little kid like me, the hood seemed to stretch out for a mile!
1973 Massey Ferguson 165 that my grandpa bought new.
My next driving lesson came a few years later. My stepdad would take me out to drive out in the country. No gravel roads, just the blacktop roads where there wasn't much traffic. Mom never knew about the driving lessons until we accidentally got caught one day. My stepdad had to go to a job site to bring in the boss's International Harvester bucket truck and had me with him. Once there, it dawned on him that he had to get the truck in but had no way to get back to the site to get his van. So there I was at age 13, following the bucket truck to town while driving the van by myself. We would have gotten away with it if Mom had not been at home looking out the front door when we drove by. That pretty much ended my driving lessons for a few years.
Later on in life, I managed to buy a couple of antique tractors of my own. Both are John Deere model B tractors. The first B I bought when my Grandpa Boone was still alive. I can still remember being in his driveway showing it to him. I think he was the happiest guy on earth to see a granddaughter get into the antique tractor hobby. Perhaps in a way, it also reminded him of his oldest son (my uncle Bob) who collected and restored antique cars. In a odd sort of way, I was following in my uncle's footsteps.
One of two John Deere B's that I own.
My uncle and both grandpas are gone. But both John Deeres and the Massey Ferguson are about ready for the 2017 tractor shows. It seems to me, as I sit on the seat, my hands on the wheel, I can almost sense that I am not alone. There are three spirits there, smiling down at me. I wish I could tell them how happy I am to have them supporting me in my favorite hobby, but I think they already know.