1991 - Volume #15, Issue #6, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
How to tell if a new tractor's on the way
"Give you any trouble?" he'll ask casually at lunch. Then, as he chomps down on a cob of corn, he'll move into phase two of the buildup: innuendo and suggestion.
"Been startin' a little hard lately. Thought maybe you'd notice . . . Shifts a little rough, don't you think?" You can agree or disagree. The psychological workup is in progress. The seeds of disturbances have been sown.
"D'ja notice how much oil that tractor's been burning?" he'll say to his son one day, making sure you're within earshot. Then early some morning he'll interrupt his book-keeping by walking into the kitchen (ostensibly for something to eat) and remarking, "Guess how much we spent for repairs on that tractor last year?" And then he'll go on to name a figure half again as high as the household budget.
"What?" you shriek. "On that new tractor?"
"That new tractor is ten years old? "You're kidding."
"I am not kidding. We bought it the year the willow tree fell on the outhouse. Re-member? I'll tell you how long we've had it. We've had it so long it's paid for."
The next thing you know, there's a tractor dealer coming by on trumped-up charges, hanging around the gas pump, leaving slick, four-color brochures in your kitchen, "giving" your husband the kind of time he's charging $10 an hour for back at the shop.
Some place in the campaign you'll be treated to the "poor of me" routine.
"Russ and Chuck traded their John Deere's in on a coupl'a 4-wheel drive Cases two years ago. Don, Lenny, George, and Bob - they've all had a complete tractor turnover since we bought our machine ... "
Then there's the scare technique: "Parts are gettin' harder and harder to locate for that tractor. Wouldn't surprise me a bit if they quit making them altogether."
About this time you'll find a list of figures on a scratch pad conveniently placed to catch your eye - over the sink next to the telephone, on the back of the john. You think at first it's an inventory of all your holdings.
"Is this anything you want to keep?" you ask.
"Oh, that - that's just something the tractor dealer jotted down for me. Uhhh . . . some figures on a tractor - and aplow. New tractor takes a new plow. Says he'll take my old tractor on trade and give me just what I paid for it 10 years ago. That takes 'er down to about fourteen thouand."
"Fourteen thousand dollars! Holy cow! We don't want to buy the business. We just need a tractor!"
You suddenly realize that it's all over.
Reprinted from "All My Meadows" by Pat Leimbach, available direct from her for $7.00 at: The End 0' Way, 8877 Bank Rd., Vermillion, Ohio 44089.
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