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Tractor was a place to clear head, learn lessons

On the tractor. That’s where I’ve spent a lot of my life. Back and forth and forth and back. Downshift, implement up, turn, implement down, speed back up, drive straight, don’t run over any junk or wells ... repeat until through.

All day long for days on end. Some might look at it as a monotonous, even redundant kind of job.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Before the advent of the tractor cab (a more noteworthy advancement than sliced bread, in my opinion), singing and thinking were definitely the main pastimes. I’m pretty sure that lots of ideas and more than a few sour notes were hatched before cabs were common. I’ll admit that my experience is limited to a few days hauling hay on what is now called an antique.

Post-cab is my area of expertise.

For a certain, finite number of days, I can listen to the radio. Music until you know all the songs, talk until you know all the rhetoric.You can learn a lot about current events, politics, and if you work late enough, about the Hatmen and the Shadow People.

Coast to Coast AM starts about midnight and I’ve gotten more than a few laughs and fiction ideas thanks to that show.

But my favorite thing to do on a tractor is learn something — like how to speak Russian.

I’m not kidding. The tractor is by far the best place I know of to learn a new language.

Audio learning kits are an essential accessory for any extended farming assignment. There’s no one there to make fun of you while you’re pronouncing strange sounds and if you get frustrated, there’s plenty of time to listen to that lesson again, and again, until you’ve got it down pat.

Maybe I should recommend a more useful language than Russian. I’ll admit that I haven’t had much opportunity to use it other than to talk to my brother where no one can understand. But I yell at the TV when the subtitles are wrong and when I need to, I can tell a Russian important things like, “I want something to eat,” “two beers, please,” “heck no,” and the most critical, “the tractor is on fire.”

Audra Brown says, “traktor ne webinya.” Contact her at: [email protected]