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Sandy C Skipper

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Pretty Ugly, A Harlem Situation
by Brad Bathgate

It's the story of two guys, two girls and the simple way life in Harlem can get Pretty Ugly..  
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A Lifetime of Love
By Sandy C Skipper
Friday, November 25, 2011

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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If only it could talk...

The old green and yellow John Deere tractor sits quietly under the shed for the first time since it was bought. It is backed in the aperture of the shed for easy roll off capabilities if necessary. It is, like the old farmer, hard to get started some mornings. The old farmer has to have that extra cup of coffee and the old tractor has to be jump started.

Oh, but the miles they have shared throughout the years. This old tractor has helped create precious memories, dream dreams, evoke aspirations penultimately in the old farmer, his children and grandchildren as well.

It bemoans so many memories of childhood days gone. It listened, as it putt-putted along, to the intimate conversations between daughter and father; at times it would be her dreams, her joys, her hurts; sometimes it was the old farmer's dreams for her or for the fecund land he loved so dearly.

The old tractor could reveal the excitement of the little red-haired girl as she climbed up on the seemingly gigantic tractor to ride with Daddy. Her love of learning and reading began not in school, not listening to books being read, but here on the John Deere with Daddy as he described books where you could discover knowledge of anything. These books would tell of how the land was broken and plowed with mules and oxen. They would tell how the tractor made life so much easier for the farmer. They would tell about cows, horses, monkeys, elephants, lions, tigers and had pictures of them too! They would take her to other lands, states, and countries in words and pictures. She could learn of ancient lands, cultures, beliefs, then read of the modern and even the future world. Daddy told the little red-haired girl anything she could think of would be in those books, that she would gain unlimited enlightenment and that he and the old John Deere were going to buy them for her. It was an ostensibly impossible dream, yet before school started, a set of World Book Encyclopedia and Childcraft were delivered by the postman.

The John Deere could tell of the enjoyment the old farmer got even as a young man from the smell of the rich earth as it was overturned being broken to plant. It could tell of the pride this man felt as he looked back at the plowed fields, remembering the times when he had plowed up arrowheads from the land. It could tell of the joy that welled up inside the man as a gentle rain fell just as the last seeds were covered, knowing a bountiful crop lay in the future. It could tell of the gallons of sweat that had fallen from the man as the merciless sun beat down on him in hay cutting time. Evidently, even the tractor could smell the fragrance of hay and effluvia of silage as the farmer inhaled these aromas. It could relate tales of the freezing cold biting like needles as the farmer rode home across the pasture with a near-frozen newborn calf across his lap in an effort to unthaw it and save it.

That old John Deere could feel the man's passion for the land, the process of growing living things year after year. It could tell of the tears shed as a crop failed. The tractor absorbed the grief of the farmer as he shared with God his disappointments and anxiety when money was so short; when his family needed what could not be provided if the crops failed, the cows didn't have hay, corn, grain, and silage.

If it could talk, the tractor would tell of a fatigue so deep in the farmer who had not cut the tractor's engine off in thirty-six hours in order to get a field plowed for planting or round the clock work hauling hay before the rain. It would share the bone-deep ache in the old farmer's body at times laced with a determination not to let the pain or the lack of rest win.

As the little red-haired girl, now grown with children of her own, turned to leave after visiting the old John Deere, a glint of sunlight shined on something sparkling streaming down under the headlights. Sanity told her it was morning dew but her heart told her it was tears of sorrow because a life so loved was finished for the old tractor and the farmer who drives the green and yellow John Deere only in his mind.

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Reviewed by J Howard 11/25/2011
but...even an old John Deere deserves a rest. nice story - thanks for sharing-

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