“Sign up and win a tractor.”
The invitation alone attracted considerable attention, but when passersby saw the tractor, broad grins spread across every face, and nearly all came to our farm show booth.
Heavily involved in operating farm show booths more than 300 days in 43 years, coaxing farm folks to get a free paper, or sign up for a prize, this was the biggest attraction ever.
Suggested for children two to seven, the International Harvester Magnum tractor, with matching two-wheeled cart, drew excited conversation from that age and everybody else, most of all great grandparents.
Children’s riding tractors these days generally don’t have to be pedaled. At least this one didn’t; it was battery operated, seemingly making it more appealing.
Six decades ago, our riding tractor was red, no brand that we can recall, and we had to peddle it. Dad constructed a two-wheeled cart to pull up and down the driveway, too.
While the generous donor of the farm show giveaway said he had pedal-operated, but kid’s “tractors-with-power” were usually preferred, and there really wasn’t much price difference.
Some contended: “It’s the wrong color,” but that didn’t deter their urge to register.
Others commented: “Oh, I never win anything anyway,” but after being reminded nobody wins without trying, they entered.
There were cautious ones: “We don’t want to get solicitation to buy something.” Our assurance: “All we need is name and number, so we can call you to come get the tractor, and entries will be destroyed” convinced jotting on the line.
While some Dads and Moms detracted their kids from the tractor, we encouraged them to “go ahead and give it a try.” Everyone was excited in the seat, but eyes still popped when they hit the throttle, and the tractor jolted forward.
Entry box was stuffed with thousands of sign-ups. Yet, Grandma’s big smile upon getting the call she’d won the tractor did quickly turn upside down when she found out she’d have to drive it home in the subzero weather.
Reminds us of Luke 18:16: “Jesus told the parents: ‘Allow the little children to come.’ Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter.” And Genesis 33:10: “Receive my giftthat I am presenting as the face of God, and you have received me.”