Little Red

A Tractor's Restoration

| March/April 1984

Box 81 Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920

Once upon a time, a thousand dreams ago, I was a sprightly young thing, brightly painted, agile, quick to heed a master's commands, and all the while, purring like the happy farm cats where I lived. I know the engineering gods who made me were called IHC, and that my line was McCormick-Deering. IHC were the letters found on all my parts, but McCormick-Deering crowned the front of my graceful radiator housing. My makers intended for me to work in orchards and groves, so I was short in my wheelbase to make quick turns, had a draw-bar at my rear, a power take-off shaft there, too, rotating side drums linked to my braking system, and a bolt out front to tug while backing. The number 012-2500 was etched alongside my motor block just ahead of my gas pump.

My first master was a man in Florida who owned vast orange groves. There I arrived by freight train in 1937, and was used in the groves to turn the sandy soil, drag weed cutters, and sprayers. When the harvest was ready, I hauled wagons to be loaded with shiny fruit. As the years went by, my driver took good care of me, but he, himself was aging.

After a great war among the humans, he came back to see me. This time a younger lad rode with him. Soon the old man retired, and the young boy took over my care. He loved to drive me, and had me doing fancy capers I was never really designed for.

One day the young man went away to another war among the people, and I was replaced by a younger, smaller, but stronger tractor. I was moved out of the big shed, and parked behind it. Chickens came to roost on me, spiders made their homes in all my openings, and even mud-dauber wasps found secret lodging within me. Weeds grew up to my skirts; one of my tires lost its air, and other old junk to be discarded was tossed upon me.

Then one bright Florida morning, there was a great noise among the humans, and toward me came the young boy, now a man, who had gone off to the war. His father had died and I had been given to the young man. Now I would be cared for and have a new home.