Retirement Community

My daughter had just moved to a farm in Northeastern Colorado when she told me to bring my camera, when we came to visit and see where our son-in-law would be working.

The drive took us through many farm road gates, past the stubble of harvest, beyond the cattle, in a big circle to a long shed. Jordin was so excited as she led the way around the corner, to show me “The Retirement Community” at rest in there.

I’ve seen a great many pickups and tractors resting on ranches and farms, and most don’t get to use up barn space. They get hauled to the field, lined up and forgotten, until some guy driving down the road drools over the 64 Ford sitting there doing nothing, pulls in and asks a rancher, “Would you be interested in selling one of your old pickups?” To which the farmer or rancher is most likely going to say, “No. Not for sale.” Yes, I’ve seen many of those rows of pickups, tractors and farm implements.

But, this one was different. There are several in a shed, tucked in their spaces with farm rubble all around to keep them cozy. My favorite is the old Oliver tractor with the Pontiac hood ornament. I’d guess it was a farmhand joke, as he dreamed of a smooth suspension and weather tight cab, to get through harvesting and planting, and getting out of the sun, wind and rain.

These machines have earned their rest. Their steering wheels surely filled with stories of farm life during their many years of providing extra man power to the ever growing needs of the community. Sun up to sun down, sometimes under moonlight, they would go, working to get the seed planted, or the harvest in.

It was hard to walk away, as the sun began to fade for the night. They would sleep once again, only to overlook the farm ahead of them the next day, and cherish the life they once lived.

We can only hope that we will not be tucked away and forgotten, but that someone will come along and enjoy our stories again. As these pieces of equipment have done, we have also lived. Bigger and newer may be more functional, but older and smaller will always have more character. Don’t lose the elderly before they have a chance to share their stories. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

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