The joy of completing the set

toy tractor

“Sometimes life churns up a dream to return to the child that somehow almost magically still exists, pushed in to the shadows by the hard work and sorrows of life.”

— Randall Fyffe, 1922

Part II

When the wildly contagious toy tractor bug bit my father back in the late 1980s, he was a man on a mission.

When he wasn’t farming, he was on the look-out for something old that made him feel new again. Most specifically, Dad wished to build a complete set of Allis-Chalmers pedal tractors, one of each model ever made.

He learned everything he could about what year each had been built. Like a serious poker player, he quietly learned which were going to be hardest to find, but didn’t let on just what he knew.

He set his new-found collector friends on the trail, while he did the same for them. His excitement carried over to each of us, and a living room “loaner” showed up for a time in each of our homes.

The little ones knew to respect these beauties.

My hubby had driven all of us to the home of a man he knew about an hour away, where Dad admired his A-C pedal tractor collection.

None were for sale, though the fellow eventually said he would consider parting with the one duplicate model of his set.

Before we left, Dad had convinced the fellow to sell him two, and jubilant joy carried us all the way home.

(On a side note, when we later learned this man’s young child became quite ill, my parents sent donations over a long battle, and Dad told me he never stopped praying for that little one. A new friend was a friend for life.)

While the Ertl 1/16 diecast tractors began showing up on shelves inside their home, it was the restored metal pedal tractors which totally captivated my father.

Upcoming auctions out of state were marked on the calendar. The search became the spark in a life that had pretty much been all work and very little play.

A complete set, then a second set just two models shy of complete eventually became Dad’s crowning glory.

He had custom shelving built to display each one around the upper walls of their new two-car garage.

Dad thoroughly enjoyed sharing them with folks, telling the stories to go with each one. He knew what year each had been built, corresponding with the true farm tractor it replicated.

We come in to the world, weightless and unaware. We fill our lives with that which interests us, and the good-spirited reach out to share their joy, the community and family made better for it.

In doing so, they teach those they love how to sow the seeds of happiness throughout a life well-lived.

My father died at age 63, and the weekend toy tractor trips with the wife he loved were the closest he came to reaping rewards for a life of constant work.

I don’t have any of my Dad’s tractors, but I don’t really need to possess one of them to hold that happy chapter in my heart.

He gave me the gift of knowing and sharing true joy when you find it, and that I carry with me, always.

Related Content

Part 1: The search for toy tractors


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!

Previous articlePa. hemp industry makes plans to lead US
Next articlePondering ice fishing and camo for anglers
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, and three grandchildren.



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.