Route 2, Box 330, Irrigon, Oregon 97844
My wife, Marlene, and I left Irrigon, Oregon this fall morning of 1983 to attend an auction of farm equipment at Sunnyside, Washington. For some unknown reason we were ahead of schedule, so we decided to drive by a used equipment lot to check on their offerings.
I am a back row person. That is, I focus on the stuff that is in the last row. You know what I mean. The bright, new expensive iron is in the front row, and the next rows are less desirable for most people.
In the back row of the Massey-Ferguson lot was a John Deere Lindeman crawler. As we sailed on by I asked Marlene if she saw the Lindeman.
'No,' she said, 'but I saw a Deere Model A with a wide front end.'
I thought to myself, 'That's good. She's usually looking at houses and yards.'
I was glad that it was Saturday and that the lot was closed because I didn't want to know what the price was.
Whenever we were in the area we would drive by and the Lindeman was always in the same spot. I would drive on by without inquiring, hoping that, someday, it would be gone so that I could get it off my mind.
At times, when I was working, I would try to figure out why nobody had bought the Lindeman. (Surely, there are enough collectors around that one would have spotted it. Massey-Ferguson people aren't so proud of green paint that they wouldn't want to sell it. They have had it more than a year that I know of, so it might be getting cheaper. If it's broken so nobody else wants it, then it's just right for me.) These were some of the thoughts which had been running through my mind.
One day I was talking to a friend, Merle, who also farms with a half dozen two cylinder Deeres.
I said, 'That Lindeman is still on the lot over at Grandview. I wonder what the deal is on it?'
We decided to call so we would wonder no more.
The Massey dealer explained that he had the crawler on consignment and that the owner was anxious to sell so was open to offers.
This was like waving a chicken in front of a couple of coyotes. We grabbed the keys and I stumbled over the dog as we headed for the car.
As we approached the crawler I was amazed at how good the condition was.
This was by far the best Lindeman I had ever seen. The front eye bolt was the only part missing. It had a light dent in the hood and the radiator screen had come out second best in a confrontation. There were no welded cracks or other scars and it was complete and original.
A reasonable offer (from a buyer's viewpoint) was made and the owner accepted after a few adjustments.
Merle had a 420 crawler and felt no need for the Lindeman, so that meant that it was mine for the taking, or I guess I should say, paying.
My wife, Marlene, and I soon will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and she had dropped a few hints about how handy a new microwave oven would be. I have been thinking, lately, that a microwave would be kind of trivial. After all, a woman who has raised three children and has carried countless lengths of irrigation pipe over the years deserves something special. Something that she will always remember. Maybe a Lindeman crawler would be nice.
I would be willing to bet that even Queen Elizabeth, with all her precious metals cannot lay claim to her very own Lindeman crawler. I have decided that I should not be the one responsible for keeping an Irrigon, Oregon farmer's wife from being one up on the Queen of England. I must get her the crawler. It would look good beside my John Deere BO. And, besides, at times she would probably let me drive it.
Merle and I hooked up his fifth wheel trailer and headed out after the crawler. Marlene and I have spent enough time after tractors in a 1949 Chevy truck to fulfill a person's bounce and rattle requirements for three lifetimes. This fifth wheel thing was a new and pleasant experience.
We just started the tractor and drove it up onto the trailer. It's not very exciting going after one that runs. This one needs no parts so you miss the anticipation of that. The paint was good and all the parts were intact, so other motorists did not even realize what we had. Within four hours, total time, we had the crawler home and stored in the barn.
On our 30th anniversary I presented Marlene with the Lindeman crawler knowing that she would be thrilled beyond words. She was speechless. A condition which lasted for a week.
On our 31st wedding anniversary, coming up next year, I think I will get her another gift. It will be something trivial. Maybe a microwave would be nice