Dear John: My Springtime Love Affair with John Deere

by Debbie Wilson

Dear John:

I was reunited with you today. I thought about you several times during the winter. When snow covered the ground and the winds blew cold through the bare trees, I hungered for your warming power. Your grass green eyes finally opened wide today as you welcomed me back to your loving arms. Sure, your tongue was razor sharp, your hands were bright yellow, and you smelled of grass and oil, but to me, you were perfect. You transported me to a place where all sounds were drowned out by the aura of your manly roar. Cell phones were unable to disturb the deep meditation that riding around on your back delivered to me. Oh, a car horn honking occasionally might have disturbed my deep thoughts when I weaved onto the road, but otherwise it was a time to be alone with you, my deere John. 

We traveled together to the far reaches of our two acres. We became reacquainted with favorite places we hadn’t seen since last fall. You were content to let me be the leader and to dictate the pace of our journey. You didn’t nag me about making “good time”.  You never complained about the weird patterns I made in the grass.  Thank you for not asking, “Are we there yet”. It was such a pleasure just making hay with you.

I remember distinctly the last time we were together. It was October 16th. It was the day before my neighbor, Leah’s, wedding.  It was a cloudy day with rain and cold on the way. We were on a special mission to make our corner of the world neat, tidy and looking special for the numerous guests expected to traverse our yard.  We didn’t know that it would be our last afternoon together for five months. Normally, we have a few rides together in November.  We didn’t know an unusually cold winter would come between us for so long. 

When December rolled around and I was forced to admit we would not have a sane reason to be together for several months. I arranged to have you “winterized”. My brother, Tommy, came and hauled you away to be cleaned and covered.  Tommy almost loves you as much as I do.  Older brothers are so protective.  He thought I wasn’t ready for a real relationship with you.  He was there when I spotted you at a home improvement store. He said, “are you sure you can handle this powerful man”. It turns out he was just jealous of our unique love.  His jealousy was so great that he purchased a more expensive version of you soon after you moved into my basement.  

Other relationships paled when compared to the one with you. They were all generic versions of you. One was red, one was blue, and even though one required me to push him around, nothing revved me up quite like you did. Real mowers are green and yellow. I vowed to never again accept a whining and sputtering substitute. Green is the color of love and you are green from head to ground, John Deere.

 As I happily mowed down the weeds and wild onions today, I felt springtime all the way to my toes!  I know you felt it all the way to your gear shift.  Ahhh…the smell of fresh grass and wild onions!  It was like driving on water!  We sailed over the clumps of green as we turned this way and that as I emptied my mind of all thoughts not related to you and our time together.  We relished the post-mowing cuddling as we admired the deep green grass of early spring. 

From past experience I know the time will come when we will tire of each other. It happens every year. When the sun beats down at 90 degrees with 90% humidity, I will cringe at the thought of spending several hours a week with you. You will need more water, gas, possibly more oil and certainly to take things at a slower pace. However, we will stay together because we will remember vividly how our love will be fresh and new in the spring.



Debbie Wilson is the Director of Tourism in Florence, Alabama and a recently published author of, “Brushing Away the Tears”. The book is about her brother, an aspiring artist, who died on AIDS in 1992. Debbie’s mother, Hazel Wilson, a resident of a nursing home for two years, contributed to the book through her letters to her son and journal entries. For more information, and Facebook Fan Site, “Brushing Away”.

Photo by Lawrence Whittemore

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