A Son’s Love for his Father
One of my best friends found a very unique way to provide a lasting monument to honor his father. This is the story of how the International Cub came to be once again, back on top of the Pole.
Bob was taking care of his father, now 92 years old, who was in failing health. In the mid 1960’s, Bob’s father had helped his close friend mount the cub on a pole alongside the local Interstate highway, at the exit where the friend operated an implement dealership.
The owner of the implement dealership was also now in declining health and he was going to have to move into an assisted living facility. His home, for decades, had been on the same property as the implement dealership and this tractor on the pole had served as the implement dealer’s sign since originally erected in the mid 1960’s.
The implement dealership, now closed for several years, was to be part of an auction which would sell the remaining items in the dealerships barns and buildings, as well as selling the real estate. One of the items on the auction list was the now seriously dilapidated tractor on the pole, which had been exposed to the elements for nearly 5 decades.
Bob mentioned to his father that this auction was soon to occur and Bob’s father again proudly shared the story of how, as younger men, he and his friend had installed the Cub tractor up on the pole precariously using a combination of seriously overextended lift trucks, ropes and pulleys and sheer muscle combined with lots of luck. The tractor was now somewhat of a local icon because it had been alongside the highway and local exit ramp and seen by many people daily.
Bob’s father health was now such that he required 24hr care and Bob cared for his father in his father’s home and as he had promised his father that he would keep him in his own home as long as possible. His father was too ill to even leave the home to attend the auction of his long time friends business.
Bob attended the auction and when the sales ring reached the base of the tractor pole, Bob was determined he would purchase the tractor for relocation to the property where he and his father had operated one of their businesses together for many years.
Surprisingly, others at the auction were interested in purchasing the tractor and pole. Determined to not be outbid, Bob won the auction and immediately began a very rapid removal and thorough process to return the pole and tractor to like new condition.
A new foundation base was engineered and installed so as to surprise his father with the relocation of the tractor on the pole to its new location, where Bob’s father would be able to see the tractor from the windows of his home.
Numerous approvals had to be obtained from various local authorities for this tractor to be installed at a new location alongside the roadway on the property of one of the businesses which Bob and his father had operated together for many years.
Decades of exposure to the elements had really taken a toll on the tractor and the pole. While the tractor looked good from a distance, once the process began to disassemble the tractor and pole, it soon became clear just how being exposed to the elements had really extensively damaged both.
The pole was sent out for reconditioning and the tractor underwent a complete cosmetic reconditioning which included a complete repainting and the installation of many new parts, including new decals, a new seat and a new set of tires and wheels as the tires had rotted right off the wheels. During the careful removal of the tractor from atop the pole, when the crane cautiously set them on the ground for the first time in decades, the weight of the tractor caused the rusty wheels and rotten tires to crumble.
Rushing to complete the project as his father’s health continued to decline, the entire project was completed in a matter of a couple of weeks. Time was critical as this surprise was to be presented to his father so he could view the tractor from the front windows of his home across the road.
The necessary approvals were obtained and permits were acquired and the new base was constructed while the paint on the pole and tractor dried. The scheduled day for the crane to install the new pole and then place the tractor back on top of the home which it had held for decades was to be the next work day, Monday.
Monday morning, the crane crew arrived and the local media was present as the now like new Cub was carefully hoisted on top of the pole as the base bolts of the pole were being secured to its massive new footing. The newspaper photographers snapped photos of the process and a crowd of onlookers assembled as the tractor was proudly positioned in its familiar place on top of the pole, in its new home alongside Red Arrow Highway.
Sadly, the surprise presentation to his father was not to be as Bob’s father had passed away just shortly before the tractor was proudly positioned in its restored condition to its prominent place atop the pole. Now, for the local people who are aware of why the like new tractor on the pole found its new home, it serves as a daily reminder of the son’s love for his father.
Unlike the many years where the pole held the dealership sign, today the tractor sits proudly atop its glistening white pole without any sign attached. It is not uncommon to see vehicles stopped in the parking lot at the base of the pole and people out snapping pictures or taking video’s of the Cub Tractor on the Pole.
On the rare occasion that someone not from the area will stop and ask “Why is that tractor on the pole”?, Bob often will simply reply, “That’s where it has always been, that is where it belongs and where it will remain”………quietly honoring the man loved by his son.