Smack dab in the middle of busy summer days I found myself watching, what I am inclined to believe, is the slowest activity on earth.
They call it a tractor pull.
The object of a tractor pull is basically just that.
A variety of vintage tractors pull a weighted object as far as it can before the tractor powers out.
It is an exercise of patience and determination for the person watching the pull and the tractor.
Of course for tractor pull enthusiasts, the event is not like that at all.
It is downright exciting.
After an undetermined length of time, when the world as I knew it, had basically stopped, I discretely removed myself from the large crowd of tractor pull enthusiasts.
But as I turned away, I was approached by a gentleman of some advanced years riding a scooter.
“Did you have enough of the tractor pull?” he questioned, his tone, almost, but not quite accusatory.
“Yes,” I replied, with what I hoped was a conspiratory smile.
“I’ve been coming to this thing for 40 years,” he said, immediately eliminating any ideas I had in my head about a conspiracy between the two of us about comparing tractor pulls to watching grass grow.
“My tractor is 63 years old, made in 1954.”
He looked at me and I could see the pride glinting in his pale blue eyes, deep set in his face, weathered, no doubt, by many seasons of sitting on said tractor in the blazing sun.
“No kidding,” I replied. “That’s amazing.”
The gentleman took off his baseball cap and wiped his brow, a testament to the high afternoon sun, and then disappeared in a cloud of dust. It was not a huge cloud of dust, being he was on a scooter, but, a cloud, nonetheless.
My friend, whom I had come to the event with, seemed quite entranced with the tractor pull himself.
And later when we came upon a great many vintage tractors and he spotted a Massey Harris, it was like it opened a Pandora box of memories.
“Massey Harris,” he mused. “That’s what we had on the farm. He gazed at it like he had found a long lost friend.
I gazed at it, too, mostly out of respect, and only slightly out of boredom.
My friend showed me all the makings of the tractor which were on the outside, in plain sight, explaining to me as he did so that the people who built Massey Harris did this so the parts were easy to access should something go wrong with it.
Apparently, Massey Harris tractors, miracle tractors that they were, did break down on occasion.
We left the tractors, but not memory lane, which we continued to stroll along quite comfortably.
There was much to see and, slowly, as we entered the world of yesterday, it seemed the modern day world and all the tasks and labours of the day simply disappeared.
We watched a threshing machine at work, and saw pieces of straw flying through the air creating in the end a straw pile.
These straw piles were lovely places to play in as a child my friend told me.
“Why?” I said, my reporter self coming to the forefront.
“Well, you could slide down them and make tunnels and they were also great hiding places for Jack Rabbits and little mice.” he replied.
“Nice,” I said, happily imagining myself playing in a haystack until he mentioned the ‘mice’ word.
My friend scoffed at the cream separator on display.
“Ours was three times that big,” he boasted.
I said nothing, but was properly impressed.
By the end of our little visit to Leslieville Antique Days, I decided I’d missed out on quite a bit by being a town kid.
But, I certainly feel like I got a snapshot version of a way of life that existed for many of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
And the snapshot version elicited a great deal of respect and admiration for these hard working individuals.
And also relief.
“You’re going to antique days,” my husband remarked before we left. “Be careful. They might keep you.”
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review