Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Cranky Tractor by David Clark

A Cranky Tractor
copyright 2008 David Clark/Cochran, Ga.
For permission to reuse, please contact the author.
P.O. Box 148 - Cochran, GA 31014

My Daddy's old Ford 8-N tractor is a wonderful old machine. She's a beautiful 1951 model, and generally speaking, gives no trouble. She will do anything I need to do.

She is a great example of the finest of American work. I just replaced a rear tire on it, which is an expensive proposition. But, Daddy would say that the bad tire didn't owe me anything. It had been on the tractor since 1951, so I didn't feel bad about it when it fell to pieces one day this past December.

Last week I went out to crank up the old tractor so I could plow some of my little field for cabbages and potatoes.

There's a way to crank this old tractor. You approach from the left side. Put one foot up on the clutch, turn the gas shut-off valve to open so a little gas will flow, switch on the key, and work the throttle lever back and forth twice. Then you reach over with one hand to prepare to pull out the choke lever, and press down on the foot-operated starter button.

She'll turn over, and you pull out the choke briefly and let it back off.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, she'll fire right up.

But, you know how things go. I'd let her sit for a couple of months while I was up in Chicago and other places fiddling around doing things other than riding Daddy's old tractor.

She turned over just fine, and just began to catch and run. But nope, she didn't fire off. I tried her again. A little bit of cough, following by a whole lot of nothing. I tried 'er one more time with the same result.

The grand old slightly rusty gal had a firm answer: "Nothing doing."
I switched off the key, took my foot off the clutch, and turned the gas valve back off.

I rubbed the engine cowling. "No hard feelings, old girl. I think I got the message." And I put my gloves in my back pocket and went and sat down for awhile in the rocking chair on the front porch.

My Daddy's old tractor is a wonderful machine. She runs best when she's running often. She feels important when I take her out plowing on a regular basis. She likes to work hard.

And like most living things, she gets ill-tempered when I ignore her for awhile. One thing I've learned over the years is when my Daddy's old tractor is ill-tempered, there's one best course of action: Walk away and ignore her for a day. She always cranks up the next day.

Two days ago a friend mentioned how his co-worker was carrying on.
"He's ill-tempered. He doesn't want to work. He doesn't want to get along with anyone. He's valuable to us, but nobody knows what to do about him sometimes."

I told my friend about my Daddy's old tractor. He grinned. "I think I'll try out your approach."


Email David Clark at , or write him at P.O.
Box 148, Cochran, Ga. 31014.

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