~photo by Papa Bear~
My name's Bart. That's me sitting up there on the platform. Mr. Ader named me after his plow horse, he bought me when the old horse died. He said he needed to be keepin' up with the times. I guess he was so used to Bart's name by then that he figured it would be easier to keep on using it. That's fine by me, I figured that it meant he was kinda proud of me, since everyone said he used to boast about all the work old Bart could do.
I was something to see when Mr. Ader brought me home some sixty years ago, straight from the factory with a shiny coat of paint and brand new tires. His wife came out of the house still wearing her apron to take a picture of Mr. Ader standing next to me, and a couple of his neighbors dropped by to take a look and check out my fancy electric starter and three point hitch. "Top of the line" Mr. Ader had said proudly, his chest all puffed up and his thumbs hooked behind the straps of his bib overalls. There were amazed at how much power I had!
I proved my worth to Mr. Ader time and time again over the next thirty years as we planted and tended cotton fields together on his little farm here in west Texas. In good years we were in high cotton, and I loved pulling that wagon for the cotton pickers to fill. There were some hard years too, when we lost the biggest part of it to drought, or grasshoppers or hailstorms. Those times I could see the worry in Mr. Ader's face, but he had a powerful lot of faith in The Almighty and always said that God was gonna make it up to us the next year, and usually He did.
About the time I was getting old and had been repaired, mended, and wired back together about as many times as tractor could be, Mr. Ader was getting well along in years too. He decided it was time to give up farming and retire. That was the last time I was ever put to use. It was a sad day for all of us when he and Mrs. Ader moved to a little house in town. I saw a tear roll down his cheek when he patted me before they drove away. I know it was his way of thanking me for all the work I did, and I was glad that I had served him well.
Mr. Ader's son moved into the farmhouse with his wife and their four kids. He bought a bunch of fancy new equipment including a tractor that was huge compared to me. It had an enclosed cab, and I heard it even had a radio and cool air. Wow! Mr. Ader wouldn't have known what to make of all those fancy gadgets and gauges!
I was parked behind the barn along with old implements I used to pull, and I sat there for the next several years slowly rusting away. Then one day old Mr. Ader showed up with a big tractor trailer and said he was gonna take me someplace real special. I couldn't wait to see what he had in mind. We drove down the road to the little town where he was living, and he pulled up at a little park on the edge of town. I was surprised to see a big crane waiting for us next to a steel tower like the kind they use for water tanks. Mr. Ader supervised as they fastened chains around me and that crane lifted me high into the air like I was light as a feather. It swung me over and set me down gently on the platform of that tower, then they removed the chains.
I heard Mr. Ader telling the folks that had gathered to watch what was happening, that I was a symbol of the early farming in this part of the country, and that he never would have made it on the farm if it hadn't been for me. He wanted people who drove by or came to the park to play, to remember this part of our west Texas history, and that's why he put me in a place of honor way up high. He said it was my reward for all those years of working so hard.
I really like sittin' way up here... I can watch the sunrises and the sunsets, and they're pretty amazing here in west Texas! I can see a lot of what's happening around town too. Mr. Ader drops by every now and then and sits on the park bench down below. It feels good, just like the old days when we were together on the farm. You know, this retirement thing has turned out pretty good for both of us after all.
This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are retire and reward.
If you enjoy writing, come and join us!