Cautious optimism. I think that is a pairing of words that seems fitting as we head into January 2021. People who utter such phrases as “It can’t get any worse!” are the same people who have probably never driven a clunker.
When I was in high school I had a 1983 Chevrolet half-ton truck. It was a three-speed column-shift, with no air conditioning and an AM radio. The day we bought it and picked it up, I drove my dad’s truck while he drove my new-to-me truck most of the way home. About 2 miles from home, he pulled over, deemed the truck safe enough, and we swapped vehicles. I slid behind the wheel of my own truck and took off. I was putting the hammer down and shifting gears, stretching her legs a little, seeing what that straight-six engine had to give.
I made it about a mile before I threw a fan belt. That afternoon, I learned how to put a fan belt on. Thus began the cycle. I updated that truck piece by piece, usually after the original piece failed me. Gaskets, headlights, taillights, radiator hoses, batteries, mufflers — if it could break, it broke. Oh, brakes, too.
Luckily, vehicles back in those days didn’t cost much to fix. Parts were cheap, and the repairs were pretty simple. So I didn’t go broke, and I was fixing things that broke. In fact, I even saved up enough to swap out that AM radio with an AM/FM one that also had a tape deck. I installed it myself, of course. It wasn’t too hard; the instructions were easy to follow. But when they said I needed electrical tape, I scoffed. The wires stuck together just fine if you twisted them right, no electrical tape necessary. Most people freak out when sparks start flying when you push in the clutch, but I got used to it pretty quick, and I learned how to swap out fuses pretty well, too.
I never had any qualms about things getting worse, I know they always can. I could go on and on about that truck, but when I think of it now, I think of it fondly. I doubt any of us will look back on 2020 with soft eyes, though, and I think we are all ready to watch the year disappear in the rearview mirror. (I also replaced the rearview mirror on that old truck.) So here’s to hoping for a new beginning in 2021.
We are going to kick off this first issue of the year with the news and information you need to get a jump on things. We have the latest on upcoming events and some stories from around the ag industry. Hope you enjoy it, and as always, thanks for reading.
‘Til next time,
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