Angie on tractor.jpg

Last fall Angie had the thrill of a lifetime when she saw a restored 1940s Farmall up close and personal at her cousins’ farm in Pearl City, Ill.

Dennis Bicker/For the Herald
Lifestyle Editor

What’s on your bucket list? If you’re not sure what a bucket list is, it is a list of all the goals a person wants to accomplish before he or she dies or kicks the bucket.

My list hasn’t changed too much over the years and I’ve actually accomplished a lot of things on it. I’m very driven that way. I always like to be working toward something. Life would be pretty boring otherwise.

When I first started working at the Herald 10 years ago, I purchased my first home. Even though this little house was very cute, I was constantly thinking of the little yellow house I wanted to build in the country and the chance to raise chickens.

For three years I worked on paying off my car and saving up money to accomplish my dream. Three years later, and after a lot of remodeling, I put my little house up for sale. With the improvements I made and some help from my parents, I was able to purchase two acres of ground in the country and build my house. This is something I’m always going to be proud of even if I don’t live there forever. Building a house before I turned 30 was at the top of my bucket list and I accomplished it with a year to spare.

I think it’s very important to set high goals. Even though they may seem a little daunting at first, it’s good to dream big. One of my favorite movie quotes is “Having dreams is what makes life tolerable,” which is from the movie “Rudy.”

Accomplishing dreams takes a lot of hard work and persistence and oftentimes it involves walking down the road less traveled. I think Booker T. Washington put it best, “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.”

When I mentioned my column idea for this week, it created a bit of a stir in the newsroom. Everyone was talking about the places they would like to visit. I would love to travel to Sweden someday to see where my great-grandfather lived before coming to America. I would like to walk through the small farming community of Rimforsa and visit the church where my ancestors were married and baptized.

Other items on my bucket list include writing a book about all of my chicken adventures and becoming a syndicated newspaper columnist like Erma Bombeck. I think everyone in the newspaper industry dreams of becoming a columnist at one time or another. For those of you who are not familiar with Erma, she wrote more than 4,000 columns from the mid-1960s until her death in 1996 and also penned 15 books. Erma had a great sense of humor. One of my favorite columns was, “Madonna put those clothes back on.” Erma just wrote about her everyday life — her kids and husband, but the way she described her life was priceless.

Before I die, I would love to own a tractor. I have to say, with all sincerity, that would be one of the happiest days of my life along with meeting legendary WGN broadcaster Orion Samuelson. When I was little, I loved riding on the tractor with my grandfather. This man had a lot of patience since I always wanted to tag along when he fed the cattle and hogs. I wanted to be a farmer just like him. I even owned a pair of insulated coveralls so I could help him out in the winter.

One of my most prized possessions is the Golden Harvest hat he gave me. I guess you could say that I definitely inherited the farming gene from him. Riding the tractor with my grandpa has to be one of my fondest childhood memories. He even let me drive a couple of times — talk about a brave man. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to own a tractor — particularly a bright, shiny red Farmall.

Last fall, when I visited my dad’s cousins south of Pearl City, Ill., I was able to see a restored 1940s Farmall up close and personal. It was like seeing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It literally took my breath away. Some women like expensive jewelry — I like tractors. My cousin’s husband, Gilbert Hershey, did a wonderful job of restoring this gem. Sitting on the old Farmall was wonderful — a thrill of a lifetime.

So, when I finally get the keys to my tractor I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the gates of Heaven open up wide and a choir of angels start singing “Alleluia.” Amid the alleluias, far off in the distance, you will hear an enthusiastic “Yippee” from me.

Follow Angie Bicker on Twitter @AngieBicker.

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