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Verbatim: Kristi Short
“A few years ago, I was searching for an old, preferably tarnished and weather-worn tractor to use as the focal point of a rustic landscape project. Weeks of inquiries turned into months of searching. Finally, I heard about a 1943 Case that might be available.
I was puzzled, however, by the photo provided by the owners. It appeared the original Case orange paint had faded to a pale shade of pink!
When I arrived at the Vashon Island address, the gentleman-owner lifted the garage door. There it was. A pink tractor. No, not the faded orange I had been anticipating. The tractor had been painted pink.
Fortunately, this was a happy surprise, because I had always dreamed about someday owning my own tractor and painting it pink. Serendipity? I think so.
The gentleman and his wife explained that there was one more condition that I must agree to before they would approve the sale. I had to promise that the tractor would always remain pink. That canceled the plans to use this tractor in the rustic landscape, but when I heard their story, I knew I had to have this pink tractor for my own.
They shared that when they first moved to Vashon Island they attended the local Strawberry Festival Parade. When the husband saw the antique tractor entries in the parade, he knew that someday he would be a part of the parade with his own tractor.
Years passed, but he had not given up his dream. He finally found an old Case tractor that had become so faded the original Case orange appeared to be pale pink. He brought it home and parked it where passers-by could see it all the time. Soon their property became known to locals as ‘The Pink Tractor Farm.’
As that year’s Strawberry Festival approached, the husband worked feverishly to get the pink tractor running. He worked through the night before the parade. To his wife’s surprise and delight, her husband and grandchildren had applied a fresh coat of pink paint to the tractor … in her honor. She had bravely battled and overcome breast cancer, so ‘Pink,’ the tractor, was a tribute to her courage and determination.
Somehow Pink must have known how much his participating in the parade meant to this couple, because at the last moment, Pink mustered up all his strength and sputtered into his spot in the parade of tractors.
Then a new chapter unfolded in the couple’s lives and they had to move back to New York. They had to make the emotional decision that Pink would not be able to make the cross-country trip with them.
After hearing their touching story, I wanted Pink more than ever. It was a promise I was honored to make and keep.
Pink came to live on my property in Port Angeles. When I had saved enough money, I approached Jim Bekkevar to ask him if he would help me restore Pink.
I didn’t get an immediate yes from Jim. I shared Pink’s background story with him and what it would mean to me personally, as I have a sister who also courageously battled and survived breast cancer. Jim’s big heart finally melted. He agreed to take on the project and dived into it 100 percent. He fixed, repaired, replaced and cleaned every part of Pink from front to back. Every week Jim faithfully gave me progress reports.
Before long, word got out that Jim was restoring a tractor — a pink tractor. Visitors began dropping by his shop to get a look at that pink tractor. As with any project Jim undertakes, his attention to detail is impeccable. He treats every project with pride and rest, as though it were his very own. Jim performed his amazing magic on Pink.
I can’t thank Jim enough for his talent and skill in making this dream of mine come true. Pink is alive and running, sporting a fresh coat of pink paint, ready to carry the message of hope and courage to everyone who sees it.”
Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact Mark Couhig at email@example.com.