by Tyler J. Woods
Magic moments donít just happen. You have to help them along. This morning, I got up early. It is my day off from my regular workweek and I had a lot of things to do. Itís fall, and with winter coming on, there is a lot of work to do before weather closes in.
Iím 45 years old with a shrinking family. We live in the Pacific Northwest near the Puget Sound in Washington State. My oldest son is attending college, two states away, and my oldest daughter has recently left home to live her busy college life from an apartment. Terry, my wife of 22 years, and I have two more daughters at home. Danielle is 15, already reviewing college brochures, and Karine who is almost 4.
Karine sitting on Dad's tractor.
This morning I have to carry fuel to my tractor. I had to leave it at the far end of a newly cleared area that Iím working on because I ran it out of gas. My to-do list also contained some welding on a drag harrow, county work to subdivide some of my property for sale, replacing a water pump on Terryís car, checking antifreeze levels on the cars and truck and thereís still some firewood that needs splitting. Too much work to get done and sleep in.
I no sooner got dressed when Karine came to the bedroom door. She would normally crawl into my warm spot in the bed and sleep with Mom for a few more hours. Today, she wanted my company. I could have told her that I had too much to do and that she needed to keep Mommy company, but I didnít. I helped her pick out some warm ďoutsideĒ clothes and off we went.
We walked out in the morning chill to the smoldering pile of coals in the center of the new clearing. Iíve been feeding this fire for a week so there was a deep pile of coals and ash. We swept away the ash, added some twigs and sticks and warmed ourselves by the fire that quickly came to life. Then we fetched the gas can for a trip to the station for some tractor fuel. Of course a tractor ride was in order when we got back... to make sure the tractor still worked right after runnin' out of gas and all.
Itís generally a bad idea to allow children to ride with you on a tractor. My tractor is a medium sized farm tractor and no exception. A tractor is a potentially dangerous piece of farm machinery and children have been thrown off the seat and under the wheels.
My tractor is an industrial model with floor plates that prevent someone from falling through the middle of the tractor and Karine is still small enough to fit real snug on my lap between my arms and behind the wheel. I limit our course to our flat ľ mile driveway to the mailbox and back so with that concession I let her ride. When she gets a little bigger, she'll have to ride in a wagon pulled from behind the tractor.
Our driveway has some tall blackberry bushes growing alongside but most of the berries are gone, this time of year. A few late comers are still ripe on top though and Karine and I stopped the tractor right up against those bushes to pick a snack.
After a few handfuls of berries, we headed home for breakfast. You know, I don't think there are many things that I could do better than to spend time like this with my little girl. She's almost 4 and too soon, she'll be too busy for this sort of thing. But we will have great memories that will stick with us. Karine...and me...a cold morning tractor ride...and a blackberry bush on the way home.
Does it ever get any better?
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