F-30

By Staff
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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.

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