Submitted by Jerry Kirsch, R.R. 1 Box 74 Boswell, Indiana 47921
I went on a date to an antique tractor auction. Jerry, the man who invited me, instructed me on what to wear. You must understand I am a city girl. Pants, hooded sweat shirt, Carhart overalls and boots is how I was outfitted. The overalls were not part of my regular wardrobe, so I borrowed a pair of his. We took off to Wesley Slaubaugh's auction held north of Lagotee.
When we arrived I noticed something immediately, there were very few women. It didn't bother me too much because of the way I was dressed. I looked like a man! It was a cold day and it was lightly snowing. Jerry informed me that every year it either rains or snows. Now he tells me!
The auction was set at the foot of lovely wooded hills. This scenery, I enjoyed looking at. What was hard for me to comprehend, was why were these men so fascinated by these old rusty machines? They looked them up and down, touched and poked them and had conversations about them.
The auction started at 10:00 A.M. They started bidding on what Jerry called 'parts'. They looked like little piles of junk to me. I had to go to the restroom. There were two porfo-pots, but they were both labeled 'men'. I was looking at the port-o-pot with a pained stare, when a man offered to guard the door while I used it. I trusted him out of desperation. What could a girl do? I don't think he peeked.
Jerry looked at the tractors. I followed him and watched him look them over. He took off gas caps and peered in tanks. He checked out serial numbers and cranks. I acted like I was interested, but I have no idea what he was looking at or why. Jerry found one he liked. It was an Allis-Chalmers 20-35. Jerry said it appeared to be a western tractor and was completely original. It wouldn't start. I noticed it didn't have any paint on it and had metal wheels. Something about it was neat. It was a survivor of time.
I was hungry and cold. I was starving. We went into the shed where they sold food. It was wonderful! It was heated and there were other women there serving food! I had a bowl of chili, coffee and maybe the thickest, tastiest piece of pecan pie I have ever had. I was in heaven!
Jerry wanted to find out what price the Allis-Chalmers 20-35 brought. Unfortunately, it was the second to last tractor to be auctioned, so we waited around. I walked a way down the road and visited a small craft shop and took a second visit to the food shed. This time I had chocolate cream pie. Finally, the bidding began on the AC 20-35. Jerry bid on it and bought it! We hated to leave it behind, but we didn't bring a trailer. I wonder if I'll be invited to go with him to pick it up. I wouldn't mind another trip with this guy.
Jerry felt he made a good purchase for his collection. For him, it was a type of investment. Buying a CD at the bank to me would be a lot less work. But Jerry has a talent. I have seen the other tractors he has restored. He is preserving part of history and that, as well as the pie, made the trip worthwhile.