I've long wondered whether I was just born with night owl tendencies, or if it's something that developed from keeping the schedule my father kept when I was growing up. As I've mentioned in other posts, I grew up on a farm in California, and farming meant late hours. We never had dinner until my father was home, and it was not unusual for him to show up at home well past 9:00. I grew up with the knowledge that in the hours that passed between sunset and his truck coming up the drive way, he'd likely been in his shop at the main section of the ranch. I'd look out the window waiting to see headlights, and by the time he backed up in front of our house I was ready to race outside to meet him. Dad had a habit, which he never abandoned, of always letting his vehicle idle for a few minutes before he shut the engine off. It did not matter if this was a tractor, his truck, or (later in life) a 2000 Ford Focus. When I was little, that meant I had a solid 3-5 minutes when he pulled up to go outside and sit on his lap waiting until it was acceptable to turn off the truck and go inside. I was really good at key turning, but only on his 1978 Ford. The tractors I never mastered, beyond the art of riding on them.
Dad only had one vice. This was a man who never (and I truly do mean never) had a drink, smoked a cigarette, tried gambling, or developed any real hobbies outside of tractor collecting. After he passed, as I struggled through writing his eulogy, it occurred to me that he might be the only person I've ever known who I don't think could be called out for telling a lie. He sometimes minimized his tractor buying habit, but in his mind I'm sure everything that came out of his mouth was legit. (I asked his younger brother about this, and he confirmed that even as kids my dad was honest to the point of annoyance. Little brother never got away with anything because of it). Dad's only weakness came with yellow paint and two tracks. Looking back, I think this probably stemmed to his childhood. My grandfather preferred working with horses, but his brother bought the first tractor they ever had on the ranch. The tractor, unlike the horses or my grandfather, never put up a fuss about things.
I recently came across a few old pictures, and I think these two basically capture dad's thoughts on the matter. He patiently tolerated most things, but he literally ran toward tractors for his entire life: