When I told my dad, he said, “I remember the first time I did that . . . when I was six years old.”
Kris said I’d better do it before they hooked anything up to the tractor. (I agreed.) So the kids and I met him at the barn and four of us climbed in. Me in the driver’s seat, three of them in the buddy seat. There were many warning stickers of things they didn’t want you to do - like of a tractor tipping over and a stick person falling out. I didn’t see any pictures of kid stick people, so I figured we were okay.
Very patiently, Kris explained to me how to drive it. Number one was to press the clutch. As he moved on to the rest of the steps, my leg got tired holding the clutch down. I’m guessing it takes practice, or you aren’t normally sitting there holding it down as you learn.
When it got to the point that I had to move the gearshift, it was really hard to move also. I asked, “Is there a button I’m supposed to be pushing at the same time?” He said no, I just had to push really hard. Yep! I was able to move it by using more force.
We got moving, and I drove us slowly around the barn driveway. I felt a little like I was in a parade. That’s how slow I was going.
I mentioned to Kris that the steering wheel had a lot of give, and that seemed like it would make it harder to use. He showed me that the front of the tractor had sights on it, like on the end of a gun, so you could point it at a row and know you’re going straight.
He suggested I could back it back into place, but I decided against it. I’d been successful thus far . . . why take the chance of hitting another tractor or my car?
“Did your mom do a good job?” my mom asked my son later. “Yes, but she was scared,” he told her.
I was not scared. What’s there to be scared of? There are definitely more steps to it than I thought. It would take a lot of practice to be good at it. I don’t think a six year old would be strong enough to operate that modern tractor.
And my son certainly isn’t going to find out anytime soon, not when he’s answering questions like that.