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Dear John Deere: The end of a lengthy relationship

Editor's note: This is an open Dear John letter to John Deere.

This is a tribute to the kind hearts and gentle people who live and work in my hometown, Lake Oswego.

Today I said farewell to my faithful friend and servant of nine years, my John Deere lawn mower. It has been said that 'it takes a pull to get ahead' and that is especially true of John. I am parting with you, John, with some nostalgia, because I wouldn't have met some of these people if it had not been for you.

John had just one glaring fault: he was a demon to start. On cooler days I held the hair dryer on him to warm him for the big pull. Then with much prayer and perseverance I finally was able to get him revved up and ready to go. Cutting the grass in the front and back yards was a breeze. In the ensuing years John became more obstinate, even though I had him serviced periodically.

At the end of my rope (or pull cord) I endeavored to get help. One time the garbage man happened to come by when I was struggling. This big, handsome guy gave it one pull and it immediately awakened to its duty.

Then there were a few passers-by - a guy named Bob, for one. Again one pull and it hummed. A kind lady walking her dog asked if I needed help. She tied her dog at the street and came into the yard to give me a hand. Alas, John was stubborn. Going next door I summoned the neighbor to help. Although he was sick with the flu, he came over and gave it the one decisive pull. Another time I heard a power saw down a few doors. It was the grandfather who was visiting from the east. John behaved well for him also.

Another passer-by who had helped me before was walking along. I was chatting with a neighbor across the street. He made the motion of pulling the lawn mower cord and asked if I needed help starting the machine. So, happily I got the machine out of the storage building and he started it for me. I learned that his daughter knows my ex-husband in Baltimore, Maryland. Yes, it is a small world.

A special thanks goes to my postman. He got my machine going and then gave me his cell phone number in case I needed help again. Sure enough I used that information and called him, but it was his day off. He and his wife were ready to go for a day trip, but he still came over to my rescue first.

Well, there is a limit to how much I wanted to impose upon all of these and other unnamed wonderful people. So, with the aid of Craigslist, I sold the machine for a third of the original cost.

So, John, you have gone to a very good home. The retired engineer from Boeing will take good care of you, so that you will purr and hum for him like a pampered pet.

Goodbye, John, and thanks again to all the kind people who have helped me.

Rosalie Justen is a Lake Oswego resident.