By Stephen W. Hiemstra
One summer afternoon on the farm as grandpa and grandma rested after lunch, I slipped out without permission, started up the tractor, and began cultivating a field of soybeans for the first time. After plowing about three rows of beans, the tractor got stuck in a wet spot in the field. Try as I might, the tractor just sank deeper in the mud.
Ashamed of myself having got stuck in the mud, I went to get my grandfather. He tried, but was also unable, to dislodge the tractor from the mud. He then called the neighbor who brought a chain, hooked it to the tractor, and pulled the tractor free with his pickup truck. The job took all afternoon.
In spite of the work I created and inconvenience, neither the neighbor nor my grandfather complained or scolded me, much as I deserved it. While this was first lesson in driving a stick-shift vehicle, what I remember best was grandpa’s patience. My sense of forgiveness as a pre-teen was immediate, yet something that I will never forget.
Also see: Looking Back
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