Cliff needed some new work boots, so we headed for Kleinschmidts, as always. We've had some snow, but not as much as counties over the state line in Kansas. Main roads are clear; it was our little stretch of gravel road, and our sloping driveway, that kept us from taking the car. The old pickup has had more use this winter than it had in the previous five years.
If you have a farm and we come to visit, do not pass go; do not collect $200; take Cliff to see the tractors, because until he's seen them, you won't have his full attention. Then take me to see the cows.
So, Cliff and I are driving north on 13 highway, and I see him rubbernecking. That can only mean one thing: he sees a tractor.
You can count on Cliff slowing down for all tractors along the roadside. The funny thing about this one, though, is it's a raggedy old Oliver that's been sitting there for the better part of a year. Every time we pass it, Cliff says, "I wonder if that's a 50 series," or "I wonder if it's gas, or diesel." Or, "Haven't they sold that thing yet?"
"Look at it," I'll say to him, "Who would buy that old hunk of junk?"
But today I said, "Why don't you stop and see?"
As it happened, he was already in the process of turning around before the words were out of my mouth.
He approached it thoughtfully and circled it a couple of times. I've seen this little dance so many times, I have it memorized. He looked the tractor up and down.
He got a phone call from his cousin, but he kept on checking the tractor out while they talked.
What you need to know about Cliff is that he doesn't intend to buy this tractor; he only wants to know everything possible about it. He never tires of looking at tractors. Even old rust-buckets like this one.