Our Cushman Engine

| May/June 1996

6247 Euclid Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

One year, maybe 1928, our farm near Coffeyville, Kansas, was so wet that it was impossible to cut our otherwise beautiful wheat crop with the binder: The bull-wheel meant to drive the works would slide through the mud leaving a big ugly furrow. This caused the horses great effort but cut no wheat at all. I was a useless bystander, age 9.1 didn't quite appreciate the severity of the emergency but I could tell from my father's sincere, loud, and colorful comments to me, to God, and to the horses that things were not going well.

He told me to un harness and release the horses to more profitable grazing in the south pasture while he went to Coffeyville in our Chevy. He finally returned, cooled down enough to help finish the milking and feeding.

Next morning, he said, 'Let's take a little ride.' I jumped at the chance since we rarely got to leave the farm except for Saturday evening shopping in Coffeyville. We picked up a neighbor and headed north. Eventually, we arrived in Fort Scott, some 100 miles away. He treated us to a late lunch, a 20-cent Blue Plate Special in a Fort Scott cafe. I thought this was great since it was my first restaurant meal.

Father had a talent, which I suppose all farmers have, for nosing out needed deals. How he knew we should go to Fort Scott to find our Cushman has always been a mystery to me. My greatest regret is that I didn't ask the oldsters more questions.

We drove to a farm and, after considerable haggling, the Cushman was installed in my seat in our Chevy. Father and the neighbor kept the front seat. I got what was left.