| October/November 1992

  • F-30 tractor

  • F-30 tractor

Route 1, Box 104 Warsaw, Kentucky 41095

Westbrook's red F-30 tractor, in 1938, pulled into Uncle Bun's woods one evening late, pulling behind it the sawmill to cut the poplar and yellow pine into planks for the floor and framing and siding of the new house. R.C. had returned. The teacher, the oldest son planned to build for his siblings and Uncle Bun a painted six room house; epitome of modernity, it was to have plumbing and electricity.

The big red machine on its rubber tires sang in timbre; the governor quickened its fires when the fragrant tree trunks hit the blade. In less than a week the two machines made the smooth rough planks needed for the construction. the lumber headed for the kiln at Ruthfordton by mule and wagon, and the tractor drove down the washboard, red dirt road pulling the saw to the next woods on the Green River draw.

When Uncle Bun died in '69, R.C.'s boy moved into the house and, looking for something to mow the few acres of cleared land where Uncle Bun grew cotton, saw it behind Brannon's barn rusted, forgotten. The trade was made; a worn Ferguson mower plus sixty bucks and the 30 limped onto the road to Bub's garage, two cylinders pulling the load. An overhaul and the last miles echoed the roar of a reborn machine, its cylinders hitting, all four.

Twenty-two years later, 400 miles away in Kentucky, it sits under a shed and waits for R.C.'s plucky grandson to strengthen his left leg for the stiff clutch. R.C.'s boy works it in tobacco some, not much. He wants his son and his son's sons to sit above thirty metallic mules and know the sensation; three plus tons of machinery, his preservation, geeing or hawing at the command of their hands working the soil in partnership; man, machine, land.