A number of years ago…a little more than forty one, to be more exact, my parents, Allen and Collene Spencer purchased a cute little travel trailer from Mom’s sister, Evelyn and her husband George Hushman. I’m sure that to many people that fact would seem like an unimportant tidbit of information, but to my sisters and me, it was like taking a stroll down memory lane. Mom and Dad always loved to travel, and wanted to give their daughters as much of the world as they possibly could. I’m sure that sounds like most parents, or maybe to you, it sounds like we were spoiled children, but you would be wrong, if you thought that. To our parents, giving their daughters the world, meant showing us what a great nation we live in, and maybe even adding Mexico and Canada to that list of places we have been. As kids, we were viewed as very blessed, because we were far more traveled than most of our classmates. There may not have been tons of money for those adventures, but Dad and Mom always found a way to make it happen.
For many years we all slept in different areas of the station wagon they drove. Dad rigged it to allow seven people to sleep comfortably in that station wagon…an amazing feat in and of itself. Eventually however, we would really get to be too big to continue that sleeping arrangement, so they knew that a travel trailer would be needed. During that time, Mom and Dad had told Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George how much they liked their little travel trailer, so when they decided to sell it, Mom and Dad were the first people they thought of. Mom and Dad were so happy about buying that trailer. It was to be the next step in the traveling, camping, memory making kind of lifestyle they wanted. The kind of life they wanted to give their daughters. It was truly an exciting day for them.
The trailer has not been used now for about 15 years, sadly. Most of those years…the last ten anyway, were since our parents were sick, and since my dad passed away in 2007. Since Mom’s passing on February 22nd of this year, we decided to sell the trailer to my sister, Alena Stevens’ son, Garrett and his fiancée, Kayla. When we looked at the title, we took note of the date they bought the trailer. It was February 14, 1974. When my sister, Cheryl Masterson saw that date, her mind immediately pictured Mom and Dad on the day they purchased the trailer. She said, “And about the date of purchase, I can just see them walking out of the bank after signing the paperwork, and Mom saying, ‘Well, we got ourselves a trailer!’ And Dad saying, ‘Yeah. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mammy!’ And then they sealed that with a kiss! Can’t you see that?” Yes, Cheryl, I can see that. I can picture it very clearly in my mind, because that was the way they were, and the kind of love they had.
A couple of weeks ago, my brother-in-law, Ron gave his dad, my father-in-law a calendar from 2012 that he had used at work…not for the calendar but for the pictures. They were all pictures of tractors through the years. We all took a look at that calendar, because it was interesting to see how much tractors had changed over the years, and the different makes for that matter. I remember seeing one that could have easily passed for a travel trailer, were it not for the tractor wheels. And there were makes that even my father-in-law hadn’t heard of, and having grown up on ranches, I would have expected that he would know them all.
Since the Industrial Revolution, which occurred from 1760 to somewhere between 1820 and 1840, when manufacturing transitioned from hand production to machines, technology never stops changing. There are always new ideas, and someone to invent them. I recalled seeing a couple of pictures among the old pictures I have been going through, that showed a couple of different tractors used by members of Bob’s and my families. Even though these pictures probably weren’t taken that far apart in years, the two tractors are very different from one another. I suppose that the tractors themselves could have been much different in age, since you often use a machine for many years before it wears out, and they could have been for different work, thereby requiring different designs, but I was struck, nevertheless, by the vast difference in their design. My father-in-law also told me that it could depend on the area of the country, as to what makes of tractor were available. That makes sense too, in that different climates, and growing seasons might require different types of wheels and designs. I suppose that humidity could play a part in how the engines ran as well, and so could affect what tractor make would work better in those areas.
Technology is changing so fast these days that tractors may one day be obsolete, you never know. I mean…who ever thought there would be a vacuum cleaner that cleaned by itself, and yet now we have them. I don’t mean to say that crops will ever harvest themselves, or that the ground will just stay plowed, but one day there might be a machine that does those jobs with just a little bit of programing. Then, like the Roomba, which is no longer called a vacuum, the tractor might change its name with the modern advancement of automation too.