| July/August 1980

  • Model 'H' John Deere tractor

  • Model 'H' John Deere tractor

  • John Deere Collection
    Left to right: my John Deere collection; 1929 'GP' John Deere, 1941 'H' John Deere, and 1921 'Z' John Deere.

  • Model 'H' John Deere tractor
  • Model 'H' John Deere tractor
  • John Deere Collection

Bossier City, Louisiana 71111

My dad started me out in the field driving our model 'T' pickup to the house while he drove tractor and machinery home after finishing a field. I was so small I had to stand on the floorboards to see ahead. He would release the emergency lever and put it part-way down and I would push in the low pedal. This way I would never get out of a fast walk. Of course, the tractor moved even slower. I would hold down on low pedal until my leg would get tired and slip off. This, of course, would kill the engine. So when my father would catch up he would patiently restart me home again and he would return to the tractor. I probably killed the pickup at least 8 or 10 times in the couple of miles before we would get home.

Incidentally, this happened around Tangier, Oklahoma in northwest Oklahoma where I grew up. Finally, I graduated to where I could put the old 'T' in high gear and drive home. I learned this when I could not hurt anyone or anything. I credit this to good teaching and lots of patience on the part of my dad. In fact I will say I have never caused an accident in over 50 years of driving. I have been hit three times when there was not a bar ditch to get into to get out of the way. Anyhow I learned my love for driving trucks and tractors this way. I still say a good tractor and plow that turns over God's good clean earth is the most satisfying and pleasant smell there is.

Soon we acquired an old 1928 Chevrolet 1?-ton truck with a 100-bushel grain bed on it. On the way to the grain elevator we had to drive over a very steep overpass across the Sante Fe Railroad in the city of Tangier. Well those who know of the 28 Chevy and its old vacuum tank know they always caused trouble. So before we would get to the top of the steep grade the heavy load would take its toll and cut off the gasoline supply and down we'd go backwards to the bottom. Also they had lousy brakes. So we would have to back way up the road and make another run for it. Very little traffic so this didn't cause too much of a problem. People knew the problem and they wouldn't pull behind you until you made the grade. When we would start down the other side in low gear it would hold it down enough to make the sharp bend at the bottom to take the road into the grain elevator.

The old elevator was powered by a big old one cylinder gasoline engine, hit and miss type. This is where I got my love for the sound of the old hit and miss engine. I always said that when I grew up I was going to get one of those old engines and put it in the front yard and let it run for all to hear. Of course, my wife cancelled this idea of a front yard engine. Anyhow, I did get one of those engines (in fact 70 of them). I have several mounted on trucks so I may pull them outside and run when I wish. Then they go back under cover as I hate to see any machinery out in the elements unprotected.

Think now it might be time to get on with my engine story or tractor as the case may be.


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