Friday, October 6, 2017

A Ride On A Tractor

I began my teaching and coaching career in Wyoming in a ranch community. It was small and rural and I lived in a town that had a post office, a bar and a gas station. That’s it. Oh, and a water tower with the name of the town. I guess they needed a landmark so folks would know we existed.

During the summer, I was “hired” to work on a ranch. Yeah, me.

Folks, I’m a city slicker. Yes, I grew up in the country on a river, but it was close to the city, so it wasn’t country country, if you know what I mean. Where I lived in Wyoming, it was real country!

I had never been on a tractor. Never. Never thought I’d actually ever drive a tractor and looking back, perhaps I shouldn’t have. Yeah, really.

One early summer morning, Sonny drove me out to a field in the middle of nowhere. The crop was corn. My job was to drive the tractor up and down the field and plow it. That’s my best description of what my job was supposed to be.

So, Sonny being Sonny trusted me . . . maybe too much. He and I got on the tractor. He showed me how to sit so I could watch the front and the rear- sort of sitting sideways. Not super comfortable, but doable. He drove up one row and back down another and stopped the tractor. He jumped off and said, “See you at Noon.”

Noon? That was six hours approximately for me to be alone with a tractor with a contraption on the back that dug up dirt. Six hours by myself! And, up one row and down the other was the extent of my education on plowing a field on a tractor. Seriously?

Okay, he trusted me (silly, him!) so I think I can do this.

So, maybe not.

You see, crops grow and the product of my plowing was clearly evident in time. I don’t know in monetary terms how much damage I did to that field, but I have to tell you, there were more gaps than anyone’s grandmother’s teeth.

Sonny was the father of two of my basketball players. Great kids. Gene was with me at the time Sonny and I inspected the field and my work about a month or so later. It wasn’t pretty. Gene of course got quite the kick out of it. I was mortified.

Sonny’s reaction?

He sucked on a toothpick, turned one direction and then another, turned to Gene and asked, “Gene, what moron plowed this field?” Rhetorical, I guess, but the moron was me.

And that was the extent of it. He put me back on a tractor. On a backhoe. I irrigated fields. I drove his new pickup from field to field. I helped brand cattle (though I started a stampede, but that is a story for another time).

No anger. No dress down. No public flogging. I didn’t pay for the damages because he didn’t ask me for it, not that he ever would or that I could afford it.

He moved on. I moved on. I learned from my mistake- at least the mistake involving a tractor with a plow. I made new mistakes and learned from them too. He was patient with me and kept asking me back. His wife invited me to many Sunday dinners. Spent a Christmas morning there once. They took me in, sort of, like a lost puppy and in many respects, perhaps I was. My Ride On A Tractor was much more than that one summer morning and a messed up field. I learned because I was given a second, a third and a fourth chance. Mistakes and all. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am at the tail end of  my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness. I’ve completed more than 81,000+ words and 327 pages into it.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

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If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 the Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.          

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.         

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all.         

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe