There is an interesting conversation that we've had with many friends and family in the past few weeks. It plays out pretty much the same way each time the topic comes up. It goes something like this:
Dave: "Do you want to see the tractor I bought?"
Friends: (momentary surprised silence -- then they break eye contact with Dave and turn their heads in my direction and lock eyes with me while still speaking to Dave) . . . "You bought a tractor?"
I am guessing they want to see my reaction to the fact that Dave has a tractor. Yes, I am aware, at this point, that Dave has purchased some tractors (notice the plural? yes, there is more than one) and I have come to peace with it.
Friends: "What are you going to do with a tractor?"
To understand the surprise in their voices you have to understand that we live in central Phoenix, the sixth largest city in the country, very urban, very inner-city. Our house sits on a typical averaged-sized city lot. Our neighbor's home sits approximately 20 feet from ours. There is not an empty lot nor open acreage for miles in any direction. So what is the tractor for? No one has quite figured that out yet. Dave calls it a "Nuper" (NUPR - No useful purpose, really).
He has been accused of going through a mid-life crisis. If that truly what it is, I think there are a lot worse things that could be enticing to a man in his 40's. However, I think it has just come to a time that he gets to focus on his own interests for a while. Dave has been truly disciplined over the years - I don't think he stepped inside a convenience store for over 10 years -- no soda, no junk food. He was willing to take lunches from home and drive old cars and trucks to make ends meet. While our kids have had braces and school trips and we've paid for home improvements and car insurance for multiple teenagers, he has put his own interests on the back burner. He has worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs at times and has always put family first. Now . . . 2007 has become the "The Year of ME !". And why not?
The tractor that he is restoring is actually a type of tractor that his dad used on his farm in Idaho. It is an Allis Chalmers Model G. It was designed for use by small farmers in 1948 and was sold for about 8 years. It has interchangeable implements so a farmer could use one machine for multiple purposes. Now, if we could only figure out its purpose for our yard.