90 Rundlett Hill Road Bedford, New Hampshire 03102
One Sunday afternoon last summer my husband and I took our nephew for a ride through the country as a sure way to get the little guy to nap. It was drizzling a bit but the clouds were trying to break as we drove a familiar back road about ten miles from our New Hampshire farm. I kept looking in the rearview mirror watching the baby's eyes open and close sporadically.
And then it happened. It was all my fault. To this day I can't believe I initiated this whole obsession. There alongside the road, barely visible over the stone wall, was my husband's latest dream-a 1926 Fordson tractor in dire need of restoration. Paul didn't see it. We passed the dilapidated cape a few hundred yards from the tractor.
I hesitantly said softly, 'I think that was a Fordson back there.' One characteristic I retained from all my husband's literature such as Gas Engine Magazine is the steel wheels. Otherwise, prior to this obsession I didn't know a John Deere from a McCormick Deering.
We continued on our ride but the journey somehow ended back on the same road as the Fordson.
Everyday for a week he drove by that tractor until he saw someone. Jared was a middle-aged Yankee with an exposed tanned belly hanging over his dirt worn jeans. He was soon to be Paul's confidant.
Days later I accompanied Paul for a so-called short conversation with the tractor man. To my dismay I sat in the car waiting for an hour and a half. It was as if there wasn't enough history, words of encouragement and tractor wisdom to be told. They examined each rusted part from the magneto to the cracked engine block. I literally sat stewing in the sun. I knew to avoid these future rendezvous.
Finally after discussing the degree of fatality in the cracked engine block, my husband made an offer to the tractor man, pending the sale of his past obsession, a 1953 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe.
Several potential buyers stopped to look the '53 over but I kept telling my husband only one person will meet her needs just as he did ten years before. Many a discouraging remark of 'I'll never get my tractor' were heard. But the sale was eventually made and the Fordson came home.
Everyday my husband returns from work to retreat to his workshop and tractor parts, keeping me up-to-date on each progression. I noticed when I sent him out to the store for milk a few times my change would become part of 'the tractor fund'. Stages of the restoration process were the only subjects he chose to photograph and topics of discussion centered around his hobby. This was major!
On my last visit with my two year old nephew who had accompanied us that infamous day I noticed his limited lexicon consisted mainly of his version of tractor, pronounced with an 'P. He had every bulldozer, frontloader, back hoe and John Deere toy 'tractor' and recited 'tractor' over and over as he played.
I thought to myself. This supports my theory about men, a theory I had developed in the five years of my marriage. There really is no difference between the two, man and boy, decades apart. They both have a one tractor mind!