870 Burch Road Williston, Tennessee 38076
It seems the older I get, the worse it gets! As soon as my long anticipated Gas Engine Magazine arrives, I glance at the front cover and back cover, fan through the middle, then a powerful magnetic force pulls me to those irresistible classifieds! I think every old iron nut feels that same magnetism.
As usual, studying each and every ad, 1 came across an ad for an Allis Chalmers 'B' tractor on steel wheels. The Allis Chalmers B was a popular tractor in the south, due to small farms in the rolling hills. The B had a wide arched front axle, very maneuverable, and most of all, affordable. When Allis Chalmers designed the B, their vision was, this is the tractor that will be responsible for putting the horse out to pasture.
Curious about the tractor, I inquired about this little 'gem.' Later I received a letter and pictures from Mrs. Cindy Wolds in Iowa, and showed it to my wife. Already knowing her second love is Allis-Chalmers tractors, she fell in love with the little B. Yes, I have to admit, I was even a little jealous, especially seeing that we had only been married six months.
Reality finally sunk in that we could not afford it. I called the owner, Cindy, and told her. When I look back, Cindy really loved this tractor but knew it needed a good home. She sounded as disappointed as we were. She offered to extend us a few weeks to see if our situation would improve.
The next weekend my father was over visiting us, and as usual the conversation turned to tractors. We showed Dad the pictures of the little gem, and told him the story. He was like a little boy again. He could not put the pictures down. In fact, we never saw the pictures again until several months later. Dad wanted to be part owner with us, so I immediately called Cindy and locked in the deal. It was a great day!
A few weeks passed and the trip to Iowa was set for the next week. Dad was out of town on business and sent Cindy and her husband a letter thanking them for their efforts and trust. The note made it, but Dad did not. He passed away before he could return home from his trip. A very sad day for us, and he will always be in our thoughts.
I made one of the hardest phone calls in my life informing Cindy what had happened. I told her (and as usual she was very sympathetic), that without Dad we could not afford the tractor. But how could we let his dream die?
As I stated earlier, my wife and I had only been married for six months and I had been wanting to get her the engagement ring she never got. 1 had been secretly saving for that special diamond. One evening over coffee she was very depressed, thinking of her lost father-in-law, and her beloved Allis B that was getting away. That's when I told her 'Please, don't get mad at me, I haven't been totally honest with you. I have been saving for a diamond ring for you. Would you rather have the Allis B or the diamond ring?' I will never forget the gleam on her face. As you can see, the little Allis has become mine and Cherie's 'gem' of commitment to each other and my father. However, I do plan to get Cherie that ring of commitment someday, unless... 'Hey, Honey, is that a Rumely in the classifieds?'
I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Wolds for all they have done and I would like to dedicate this article to my wife and late father who have taught me that if you keep faith, dreams do come true!!
The photograph above comes from Larry Puckett, 3201 Burnett Road, Suwanee, Georgia 30024, who writes: 'This 4 HP United hit & miss engine only needed a little TLC (that's tender loving care) and a new paint job. This is one of three 4 HP Uniteds I own, one being a TG engine. Also in my collection is a complete set of 1, 3, 6, & 10 HP International type M's, and an early M with a gear driven mag and under-strike ignitor. I also have several other engines.' He continues, 'I really enjoy GEM, and the engine shows and all the nice people I meet. By the way, the 1936 fire engine and pumper in the background is for sale and needs a good home!'