Last weekend, the whole family got together for my grandpa's 90th birthday. He's been excited about this for so long, it was great that the weather was perfect for traveling and we were all able to attend, including my cousins from Colorado and Florida. Even my mom and stepdad took a quick break from the winter stay in Arizona to host the party. And that was tough for them! They love it Arizona this time of year.
My grandpa likes to tell stories about how he got started in farming when he was in his early 20s. One of my favorite stories is how he purchased his first tractor. Back in WWII, tractors and other farm equipment were scarce because steel and rubber were saved for the war effort. My grandpa saw a train carrying new tractors parked in a nearby town. He asked the dealer if he could purchase one of those tractors, and the dealer agreed.
However, grandpa wanted a tractor with lights and automatic start. Back in those days, farmers used a hand-crank to start up the tractors. The dealer said he could equip the tractor with the extra, but it would cost more money. "How much do you think it cost?" my grandpa always asks me. "$20! That's it." And the tractor cost him less than $250. Today, a new tractor costs more than my house!
My grandpa also wanted his first tractor to have rubber wheels, instead of the steel wheels common back then. But he had to ask the county rationing board for permission to buy rubber. They granted him permission, and he ended up with one of nicest, "fully" equipment tractors in the county.
I love it when grandpa shares stories about the "good ol' days." Really makes me appreciate all that I have.