Next generation of a tractor lover

By JUDITH SUTHERLAND

Farm and Dairy columnist

When the sunshine warms the golden curls of the golden boy, there is a halo of blessing that burns brightly for those who share the journey.

There is nothing quite like the joy of having a sweet little 1-year-old on your lap, rocking him to sleep after a busy summer day.

Next generation

Oliver is the son of my nephew, Todd, and his wife, Carrie. It doesn’t seem possible that 30 years have gone by since I rocked Oliver’s daddy to sleep and put him down for the night whenever I was lucky enough to be chosen to baby-sit.

When Todd met the wonderful woman he was to marry, she lit up when she heard that his father’s family had long farmed with Oliver tractors. She had always loved the name and had one day hoped to marry a good man and give a baby boy that name. When they married a few years back, we all had hoped for a baby for this great couple.

Birthday

The day the baby arrived, the two had kept mum on the names they were considering. It was such a thrill and a surprise to learn this tiny fellow would carry a name with such meaning to the long line of farm men on his papa’s side of the family tree.

Todd’s mom, my sweet sister, and I batted away tears of joy that day at the hospital as they announced the baby boy’s name to all of us.

Last night, while watching little Oliver toddle around their home, I just had to jot down one of her neat little kitchen plaques to share with Farm and Dairy readers.

Country decorating

Propped atop the kitchen cupboards, the old tin plaque reads: John Deere, I’m leaving you. In Case you don’t know why, it’s because my cousin Oliver told me you were messing around with Allis Chalmers. I can’t believe I thought you were on the Farmall those times.

Don’t you just love it? Now that’s country decorating at its best!

Love of tractors

Oliver loves his tractors and his great library of tractor books. After spending lots of time outside, we were both ready for some rocking chair time, reading through his many colorful books. I made a complete fool of myself babbling about tractor sounds, and Oliver would put his head back and laugh each time I made my zooming high-gear impressions of a tractor at work.

This adorable little fellow has the most beautiful big blue eyes and a head full of blonde hair with curls at the nape of his neck. He is, as my father would have likely said every single time he saw him, just cuter than a speckled pup. He is the child that makes it hard to be away from him for any length of time.

Happy

As we read of the increasingly high number of single-parent homes and the breakdown of the family, I hold this little boy and am grateful for how beloved he is to a large and happy family. He will never want for loving care, he will know all about discipline and rules and structure. He will experience the joy of hard work, the thrill of planting a field of corn in straight rows, watching it through the growing season, seeing it through to harvest.

Right now, all he really knows is that he has a bunch of camera-happy relatives who are standing in line to spend a day or an evening with him, to take turns reading him story books and rocking him to sleep.

As his big eyes grew heavy, he knew exactly how to turn off the living room light, gather up his favorite night-time blanket, and climb in to my lap.

There is nothing on earth quite as close to heaven as this.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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