RR 7, Napanee, Ontario, Canada K7R 3L2
This story takes place when I was about eight years old. That
would put the year at 1959. My Uncle Frank had an Irish Fordson
tractor that I thought was the most interesting piece of machinery
I had ever seen. Most farmers in our area, including Uncle Frank,
had Ford tractors, but they were of the ‘N’ series. They
didn’t look at all like this old Fordson with its big
squared-off fenders and wooden steering wheel.
I had never seen the Fordson run. It was retired before my time
or at least before I can remember. My dad told me that it was
bought used when his brother Frank and he did custom thrashing, for
the sole purpose of running the thrashing machine. This old tractor
was stored in a shed not far off the road that the neighbor kids
and I passed on our way to and from school.
Sometimes on our way home, my friend Mitchell and I would stop
by the shed and play on the old Fordson. One of us would sit on the
seat while the other would crank the engine. Cranking was
accomplished by engaging the crank horizontally, then stepping on
it similar to getting onto a bicycle, while hanging onto the
radiator for support. As I mentioned above, this old tractor had
huge fenders that wrapped around the rear wheel almost touching the
ground in back. My dad used to say this was to stop the tractor
from flipping over backwards because the fenders would hit the
ground and stop this from happening. In the back of these fenders
were doors that when lifted exposed tool boxes, which were built in
One summer day Mitchell and I decided to go and play farmer with
the old tractor, only to discover a swarm of bees had taken up
residence in one of the tool boxes. They were bumblebees and were
pretty insistent that we stay away from the old Fordson. We had to
stay clear of the tractor until we figured out how to get rid of
the bees. Our first idea was to bang on the fender with sticks in
the hopes that the loud noise would scare them away. Of course, all
we accomplished with that was being chased down the lane at full
speed by some pretty angry bees. Finally we went in one night at
dusk and soaked the nest with boiling water after which we were
able to claim the old tractor once more as our play toy.
Since then the shed has been torn down and the elements have
taken their toll on the old Fordson.
I hope my ramblings have stirred some fond memories of my
readers. Thank you for listening.