Daddy was always a John Deere tractor man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My daddy had very definite ideas of what he liked and disliked.

The name on the bib of his overalls had better be Liberty (they had more of those nifty little pockets so he could carry all his much -needed doo-dads).

He largely eschewed those &uot;ol’ bittah&uot; chocolate layer cakes my sisters and I adored, preferring one of my mother’s caramel or peanut butter-frosted creations when his birthday came around each September.

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When he ate his cereal, he didn’t want a dinky little bowl like everyone else had; one of Mama’s vegetable serving bowls would do just fine, thank you very much.

He liked firm handshakes, Democrats, baseball games (the ones on TV, watched from the comfort of his well-worn recliner) and pretty women with whom he could flirt just a little.

He disliked it when a lady’s slip showed, or a young person didn’t use &uot;ma’am&uot; and &uot;sir&uot; when talking to an adult.

Daddy liked playing dominoes with his granddaughter, watching Fozzie Bear on the old Muppet Show and talking to, well, pretty much anyone who would listen.

When Eddie Albert, the actor, died recently, I found myself recalling his days on &uot;Green Acres&uot; and thinking of my dad.

Remember how, in the show’s opening credits, Albert looked so happy bouncing along on the seat of that old tractor?

While Daddy would have never sported a suit on his trusty iron steed – well, OK, if Mama had let him get away with it, he might have done so – but that smile, that totally satisfied expression Eddie Albert wore, could have been his own.

The only tractor my daddy would drive had to be green and yellow – cause nothing runs like a Deere, you know – and some of his happiest moments were spent in the seat of one.

Daddy liked – no, he loved – baling hay. It seemed to me there were few things in life he enjoyed more than hitching on that hay baler and taking his John Deere to the fields down below the farmhouse.

It was hot, dusty, sweaty work but as long as a &uot;water boy&uot; (actually one of us girls or Mama) brought him a Mason jar of cool water every now and then (&uot;Not ice cold, now, it’ll make me sick&uot;), he was a happy camper.

In his later years, the family created a whole John Deere motif for him in his room- a John Deere comforter and sheets, throw pillows, even cow and pig dolls dressed in John Deere gear.

There were John Deere signs on the wall and miniatures of the fabled farm equipment sat on the mantle. He drank his morning coffee out of John Deere mugs.

And after Daddy was run over by his beloved diesel Deere in a freak accident in 2000, he was able to smile when I commented to him, &uot;Of all things, it would have to be a John Deere that got you, wouldn’t it?&uot;

It was just one more good farming story he could tell everyone, ’cause Daddy was a John Deere man.

Angie Long is the lifestyles reporter for the Greenville Advocate

and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at