I can't wait to open my favorite Christmas present EVER this year. Yes, I already know what it is. Yes, I've already seen it. No, it's not for me.
My stepdad, Short-Haired Bill (long story) has put a bit of time and money into make something old, new again... for my guys. (OK, they're his guys too.) And if there is something an old soul like myself can appreciate, it's nostalgia.
You see, when Short-Haired Bill was just a lad himself, one of his most prized possessions was a ride-on John Deere tractor.
Fast forward to now, it's no coincidence that Short-Haired Bill's been a heavy equipment operator for more than 23 years as an Operating Engineer.
Thankfully, Short-Haired Bill's poor little ride-on John Deere is still around, but it has definitely seen better days...
A broken tire, a missing pedal, a wee bit of rust and a lot of wrinkles... But Short-Haired Bill had the best idea EVER: to rebuild, re-paint and re-gift a part of his childhood to his grandsons who share his appreciation for bulldozers, skip loaders and excavators.
Short-Haired Bill took the old John Deere apart, had a local welder blast it with walnut shells to remove the paint and rust and began the restoration.
Out with the old and in with the new... Or rather, a perfect mix of old and new, just like grandparents and grandkids.
Lots of pieces to paint and put back together...
Short-Haired Bill even went to the local John Deere tractor supply store (yes, we have those in Southern California!) to get the authentic John Deere green paint.
Good as new... Every little detail counts.
Coming together nicely... and boy is it lookin' shiny!
Short-Haired Bill himself... making a few minor tweaks and adjustments. Nothing's too good for his grandsons!
A final few touch-ups with the paint and...
WA-LAAA! Looks like it came off a toy store shelf, brand new... BUT BETTER because it has so much more meaning. It's a piece of history and nostalgia that has been preserved for another generation of tractor lovin' boys.
I can't wait to take the final photo on Christmas day... his grandsons enjoying it as much as he once did. I can't think of a better gift.