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Fordson Memories

| February/March 1997

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 the fenders.

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.


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