I got behind a tractor...
In my part of the world, that is the perfect excuse for tardiness…anytime. Particularly this time of year as fieldwork is in full swing. It’s actually an unusual trip when you don’t see at least one tractor somewhere along the way.
But, the other day on my way to town, I really did get behind a tractor. ...on Mbrk Road, too.
At first I could only assume it was a tractor. All I could really see was a big load of hay lumbering down Mbrk Road, the slow moving symbol swaying along with the movement of the wagon. Mbrk Road is narrow, twisting and incredibly hilly. There are few passing zones and no other direct routes to town. This was going to take a while.
I must admit, my first thought was not “oh goodie! I get to follow a tractor to town” No, it was more…”oh, crap…how long is THIS gonna take?” I really was in a bit of a hurry, but living in the country has taught me a few things. One of them being…slow it down and take it as it comes…because showing up late is better than never showing up.
So, I rolled down the windows, cranked the tunes a little louder and rejoiced that I had a fresh bottle of soda on the dash and a full tank of gas.
|tight fit for oncoming traffic|
(don't worry, Boss...I was a long way back and completely stopped when I took this shot!)
In the rearview, I could see the traffic lining up behind me as we putt-putted along down the road at 10…no, 9…no,…something like 7.5 miles an hour. I stopped counting when I got to 8 vehicles. I tried to guess where the tractor would pull off…maybe Dynamite Road? No…we kept puttin’ along . Would they go to the Meating Place? Maybe Cedar Green? No…they were still putt-putting.
I’d been watching the behavior of the cars in line. Most were just cruising along…waiting it out. But, a couple kept weaving over the line, trying to see what was causing the delay. Then, it happened.
Some roadrage dude at the very end of the line couldn’t take it anymore.
He winged it out over the double yellow line, on a blind curve and bulleted past everyone. The vehicle was just a blur of shiny burgundy paint and tinted windows. I waited for the impact that I felt certain would come as he collided with oncoming traffic. I could see the driver of the SUV behind me expressing her concern as well.
The haywagon swayed a little as he flew by…miraculously withOUT causing an accident. Roadrage dude vanished, his speed taking him out of sight in seconds.
Shortly later, the two old guys driving the tractor hauling the haywagon pulled off the main road, I assume having reached their destination still intact.
Since I didn’t get a chance to say this to roadrage dude as he sped by that day. I wish I could have said...
You carelessly took the life of complete strangers into your own hands when you went flying down the road. By my count, you endangered at least ten lives needlessly. And, while the outcome was good in this case…one day you may not be so lucky.
Here are a few things to remember when driving on rural roads.
-First and foremost, if you move to the country, or find yourself visiting…please respect the country folks (and their tractors). That means no tailgating, honking and hollering. Like the song says…“tip your hat and wave to the man up on the tractor”
-Those driving the slow-moving equipment are our friends, neighbors and quite possibly our family members. Please be considerate!
-Farm equipment can NOT hurry. Your bad attitude will only make things worse.
-Don’t…don’t…I repeat DO NOT pass on a double yellow. Not only is it against the law…it’s downright dangerous. I have seen first-hand what head-on impact can do…and it’s horrifying. Ask my kids, it’s life altering.
-Hang on…chill out…whoever is driving the tractor knows you’re back there. They’re not trying to make you late. They are doing their job. They will pull over when it is safe and they will wave you around.
-Make sure to stay where the driver can actually see you. Getting too close won’t help anything.
-And, when you do drive by…WAVE (with all your fingers) and say THANK YOU.
-Remember that these folks are part of America’s food system. If you put food on your table, and in your mouth, you are a direct beneficiary of the hard work of the American farmer. So show a little common courtesy. Please.
Pay attention…and slow it down.
|image credit: oldbluesilo.com|
Because if you don’t…and I’m quoting a neighbor here…
…”yer gonna ketch yer killin’s!”
(and possibly take somebody with you)
Nobody wants to see that happen!
Here’s the song that inspires lots of farmers…no matter what brand they favor. I once saw a group of farm kids moved to a near religious experience by a performance of Craig Morgan’s International Harvester. Give it a listen.
okay…that’s the end of my ranty public service announcement for today. You can go back to your regularly scheduled life.