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Contributed Article

On the Road: Deere Departed Friend

A Monthly Column by Dave Gohl

(c)1998 All Rights Reserved

Have you ever had to part with a dear friend? It's not easy. If it's due to death, your feelings could be in disarray for days, months or even years. Even now after almost 4 years, I still miss my dad. I remember when I was a kid my dad sometimes would tuck my brother and I in at night and we would ask him questions about his childhood on the farm. To this day, it's some of the best stories I've ever heard. And now, I'm so glad that I asked those questions, and if I were a little smarter in later years, I would have asked more. It's not easy to think that you'll never see that person again. I treasure all the photo's and video tape of my dad. To some degree, it still keeps him alive for me and my family. One thing that Barb and I have tried to entrust into our children, is to treasure the things you have. For you might not have it as long as you think. Whether it's your favorite piece of clothing, a toy, friend or even family member. Treasure it for as long as you have it, we tell'em, and the look on there face? Well, let's just say that they give you one of those kind of looks where you could either hug'm or put'm in time out!

I just experienced one of these moments recently. Last month on these pages, I shared that I sold a tractor over the internet. This tractor was an unstyled "G". Though it was in rough shape and didn't run, it was truly a treasure, probably because of the low serial number and assorted features that made this tractor unique. Now this "G" was sitting in my barn for the better part of 7 years. Each and every time I opened the big slider door, there it was, sitting there, the first tractor that greeted me. Just like a friend would say; howdy, how ya doin'. It was big compared to the other tractors I have in my collection. And over the years I punctured it's soul by removing a part here and a part there. But never to destroy the true heart and soul of the tractor itself. It was always fun to explain to visitors seeing my collection for the first time, that this model "G" was one of the biggest tractors built by John Deere at the time. I was always asked if it runs. I'd say no, she needs a little work. I was thinking to myself one day, what's so special about a tractor that looks like death "worn" over and doesn't run? I guess it's the fact that you own it and it's just nice to look at it and dream of it's newness and where it might have worked it's entire life.

When the time had come to part with this treasure, I wondered if this is what I really wanted to do. It's not like I second guess myself or anything. I wondered what it would be like to restore this relic, and drive it in a parade. To look at it like shiney new. To boast about it to those who asked. To hear it run. To get on it for the very first time and push the hand clutch out, and move forward. Now that would be a moment to remember! But just like that special piece of clothing, toy, tool or other artifact, that was either lost in time or sold, I still will have the memory of my "G". I guess to say that I even owned one puts me in a class all it's own.

To speak about the treasures we once had, whether material or in-material, is to speak of a certain time in our lives that has come and gone. No matter how painful or gleefully those times were, treasure them. Hold on to them. I know I have. And the one treasure that is gone for me, that I'll never have the opportunity to see or hear again, is my dad. Miss you dad.

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