NORWAY, Iowa — For tractor collectors and drivers, they say every tractor has a story. In my family, our story is one of lost and found. When my Dad began farming in the mid-1950s, he purchased a 1955 John Deere 60. It served him well until he traded it off in 1970 for a bigger, newer John Deere.
But Dad still missed his first tractor he bought.
“He was looking for that tractor. We’d go to auction sales he would see in the paper that there was gonna be a 60 for sale,” said Stuart Towe, my cousin who farms our family ground. “He’d go to that sale and the first thing he would do is go right up to the tractor and look at the serial number, and if it wasn’t his, he would go he would go home.”
Dad also had another tractor he liked, a Massey 65. It was smaller and faster. It could keep up with the other tractors on various regional tractor rides Dad would go on. But the old 60 would always be the sentimental favorite.
“He also put ads in the Farm Bureau Spokesman. He was hoping somebody would find that tractor,” said Stuart. “He’d talk to Darrell Sindt, the owner Sindt Implement. He just didn’t have the records to go back that far to find out what happened to that tractor after your dad sold it.”
Dad heard about a sale near Belle Plaine, so he went, and checking the John Deere 60, the serial number matched! But he had to be somewhere that night and the tractor was going to be auctioned later in the day. So, he called cousin Stu to come over to the sale to help him snag it.
Stuart bought it for $1,000. It looked pretty beat up, but it still worked.
“Really wasn’t that much wrong with it, just had the water pump out of it,” said Stu. “Your Dad, we got home here and he worked on it couple weeks he’s like a kid in a candy store.”
Now years after buying and restoring the John Deere 60. It still runs, most of the time. Dad celebrated his 90th birthday with a big party at the Norway Legion Hall a year ago. This year, Dad turned 91. He is still in Colonial Manor nursing home in Amana. He can’t even come out of his room to eat cake, let alone to the farm. We can’t go in. Phone conversations are hard due to his poor hearing.
We can communicate using a FaceTime-type communication. He even eats food in his room, as they minimize social distancing inside the nursing home. They’ve had no cases of COVID-19. I asked how he’s getting along being in his room all day everyday. In his typical laid back style, he said it was great. He didn’t mind this at all. Thanks to all at Colonial Manor!! He never has a bad day ever!
Since I got the 60 to run with a new battery, I decided to drive the back roads from our farm over seven miles to his nursing home in Middle Amana. Inside, Lori helped get Dad turned around so he could see the 60, as I drove close to the window. I left it running so maybe he could almost hear the old poppin’ Johnny through the closed window.
He waved enthusiastically!
Happy Birthday, Dad!!!!