Opinion

Real Issues With Doc Warren: What Color is your Tractor?

Quick Note: ”Doc Warren” Corson III is a counselor and the clinical & Executive Director of Community Counseling of Central CT Inc. in Bristol and Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm (www.docwarren.org).

P1250169You can tell a great deal about a person by their tractor. I knew a man whose name escapes me at the moment, and he had this pristine condition older John Deere tractor. To say it was a classic would be an understatement; it had all original paint and parts and I’ll be darned if I could find a scratch or wear mark on it. Other than very minor fading and some weather cracking on the rear tire, it looked almost as it did when it came off the assembly line. He was a good guy to boot and would talk of farming and the hard work associated with it for hours on end. He was the first to volunteer to use his tractor for parades and the like. He was a pleasure to talk to.

    As for me, well my tractor isn’t so pretty. It has wear on the wear, the gauges may work this year as we worked diligently on it all winter trying to get it up and running again after seeing that the 1960’s electrical which had many an emergency field repair had become less than reliable. Almost every wire needed to be traced and repaired or replaced. It seems it started its life as a 6 volt but decades ago was haphazardly upgraded to a 12 volt system which fried the gauges and much of the wires that were not rated for the voltage. It has seen its share of mud, rain, sun and wind. It is much faded and well-worn but when you need it, it typically fires right up.

    My tractor won’t go winning any awards for beauty and though it is tough it may never win a pulling contest either. It doesn’t need to as it was made not for shows nor parades but for work. Much like me and many others.

    When it comes to relationships there are many kinds of people that we may become involved with. Some are proven reliable but may have a few quirks or scares. Some may look flashier and be easy on the eyes but lack the ability or desire necessary to even contemplate the many hard roads and travails that go into making a real and lasting relationship.

    In the world of therapy and of therapeutic farming, I have seen many types of folks who come in for treatment related to relationships. I have seen those who are road weary, having been put through far too much by an uncaring spouse. I have seen those who bear the burdens of feeling powerless in the face of a long and hard illness that is or has recently taken their spouse; no matter what they did, no matter the specialist, there was simply nothing that modern treatment could to to alleviate the pain or suffering nor prevent the death of those they loved the most.

    Sadly, I have also seen those who enter a relationship simply to enjoy that short “honeymoon” period where it seems like every day is the prom and you have both been voted king and queen; only to bail once things got “real.” I have seen relationships ended because of a loss of job, the loss of youth, the loss of perceived beauty and even the loss of interest. Under the veneer, there was no heart, or so it would appear.

    I once knew a couple who in their marriage vows planned to add to the “death do us part” section the caveats that they too could end the relationship if he lost his hair or she lost her “tight body.” I am unsure if the preacher allowed this, but if they did not change their mindsets I am sure the marriage likely failed.

    When choosing a mate there is no one size fits all approach. We all want what we want and are attracted to what we personally find most appealing. Some like short, other tall. Some like skinny, some large. Hopefully most prefer the quality of one’s self over the fleeting beauty of the veneer, for as sure as the sun will rise and fall, youth will come and if we are lucky enough to survive it, it will fall to age. The beauty of youth will have passed us by but the beauty of age is still beauty but often defined differently.

    Recently I went to look at a tractor that hopefully will become the newest addition to the working farm museum that we are working on. If we got it, it will be one of our newest ones as it is from the early 1950’s. It was a beauty to behold. It bore that scars of many an encounter with hard work. Its battery was too worn to turn it over, its hydraulic hoses holding fluid but frayed and weather cracked. It appeared to have had a fender “banged out” a time or two. In short, it was perfect for a working farm museum where we celebrate the accomplishments of farmers over the glamour of fresh paint and shows.

    As I was headed up the driveway I noticed a relic from days long gone. A 1920’s Fordson tractor (shortened from “Ford and Son.”). Fenders were missing, everything the color of rust and some motor pieces had long since been removed. Though the steel wheels were converted to rubber, I fell in love instantly and am attempting to have this lawn ornament become one of the focal points of the working farm museum, whether it can be made to run or not. If we can get it to run, my money is that it will remain rusty, though we will stabilize it the best we can. I too wanted to know everything I could about this and the other tractors owners. Their stories are important to me as is the legacy that they represent.

    We all deserve to be loved, though we need not be in a relationship if it is not a healthy one. Many choose to live alone than live with the wrong person. We all typically find the “perfect” one for us, even if that perfect one is actually living alone by choice. We all have beauty and are desirable, but not all will agree on the definition. Some like my friend, love the well painted and displayable newness, while others prefer something that has often been tried and never denied meeting their responsibilities.

    So as you contemplate your relationship, I humbly suggest that you look not only towards your better half but also yourself. Are the lines on a face, the calluses on the hands viewed as assets or as liabilities? While you make the assessment, take a good hard look to find out just what color is your tractor.

-Doc Warren

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