The garage of our family home has always been a time capsule. Filled with old bikes, ice skates, and other old sports equipment, and toys that carry with them tales of times gone by. Nestled amidst the memorabilia, a green and yellow beacon from my childhood stands out: a metal John Deere tractor, worn and weathered, a symbol of resilience and shared memories for all of us seven siblings. Though I was the youngest, I inherited tales of each sibling’s adventures aboard that miniature beast even before it became my turn to take the wheel.
Being the seventh child, everything I had was handed down. Clothes slightly faded, books with scribbled margins, and toys missing a piece or two. But the John Deere tractor was different. Despite the chipped paint and creaky wheels, it felt like an heirloom, waiting for me to etch my chapter onto its storied frame. Each scrape and scratch was a badge of honor, a testament to the wild imaginations and daring escapades of my brothers and sisters. With every turn and twist, I would envision the vast fields my father would often describe, the same landscapes where John Deere’s mighty machines, some of which he had a hand in crafting, roared and reigned.
It wasn’t just a toy; it was a connection, a legacy. My father spent 35 years as an engineer for John Deere. The pride he took in his work resonated through our home. Each time I mounted that tractor, I felt an unspoken bond, not just with my brothers and sisters, but with the man who had unknowingly given this simple toy such profound meaning. It reminded me of the strength of family ties, the durability of cherished memories, and the journey of being the youngest in a lineage of love, laughter, and a shared penchant for the color green.
- Chris Kennedy