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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Oct 2, 2009

You would not think a Nokia cell phone and a Steiger tractor would have anything in common, but around here they do.

Last summer my wife suggested a new cell phone for my birthday. I have been carrying the same cell phone for about five years so it seemed like a good idea. I have been carrying a cell phone for about 10 years and this is my second phone.

The first one was an analog model and it was replaced by my current digital version. I am on my third provider, but that is because one service has been bought out by another. The original battery has yet to be replaced on my cell phone.

For me, a cell phone needs to be reliable, a device I can depend on when I need it. Taking pictures, internet access, listening to music or all those other features are not that important to me. Hey, it is just a telephone so be a telephone.

I looked at what my cell phone provider offered for the latest in technology and did not see anything that made me think I would be improving what I already had. I did not buy anything.

The Steiger tractor is a 1979 model and was bought new by my uncle. Like my cell phone, it has been a reliable item from which I have gotten much service. Unlike my cell phone, it is not on its original battery. But to show you how much of an antique this tractor is, its 1979 sound system is equipped to play eight track tapes.

Since it is on its third hour meter, we have lost track of how many hours this tractor has on it. We gave up repairing the fuel gauge and use the hour meter to keep track of fuel level – 10 hours of running means it is time to fill the tank and 12 hours will require a walk home.

Guess how we figured that out.

There we have a Steiger tractor and a cell phone. Both have been proven by time to have a good design with a high reliability because of quality parts and workmanship. Both could be replaced by more modern products offering more convenience.

However, in spite of their age both seem to still have a useful life.

They have something else in common as well. Their current owner, me, is either stubborn or loyal or probably both. I want to use these two tools to see how long a useful life they have. Can I wear them out?

In all honesty, I should add one more characteristic to being stubborn and/or loyal. I am also cheap. I am the guy who, upon breaking a shoe string, will take the longer end and lace it back through the eyelets skipping a few of them to allow for the shorter shoe string. I can get another few weeks of usage from a pair of shoe strings this way.

I make no apology that when I am in need of something I go to eBay first, from my camera equipment to my clothing and anything else including my shoes. Most anything I own was owned first by someone else. Several years ago my mailman, who drove used cars on his mail route, said, “Let someone else have the gravy.”

Even my wife and I, having each been married before to someone else, can say that after our years together, being loyal and stubborn has its advantages in other ways, too.

Sometimes, it is a requirement.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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