Usually after, or at the end of one of our “marital discussions,” my wife usually sums up her side of the argument with her stock phase: “…you should have lived in the 1950s instead of today.”
Ah, the decade of the 1950s. Gasoline is 15 cents a gallon. Not much in the way of unemployment. “I Like Ike” for the eight years of the decade. No terrorist bombings. Our country doesn’t have a 20 trillion dollar national debt. Yes, as much as I would hate to admit that she is right, maybe I was better suited to live in the 1950s…
One thing that I do happen to enjoy from the 1950s is our Farmall C. With a narrow front end, the C, with its four cylinder engine, packs a whopping 25 horsepower, which back in the 1950s, made for a good second tractor to use for pulling wagons, cultivating, mowing and raking hay, or even for use as a planting tractor, as it came with all of the attachments to perform the before mentioned tasks.
Our Farmall C is mounted with a five-foot-wide belly mower. Dad bought the tractor and mower in the famous “as is” condition from the one time “King of Tractor Parts” in the Napoleon Ohio area, old Jim Joseph. The other stipulation in the “deal” was that Dad had the right to scavenge enough parts from Joseph’s other tractor jewels to get the C in running condition. This was done in short order during a winter of several years ago, and the C and its mower have been together ever since.
As one would surmise, we use our Farmall C as a mowing tractor, and even with this seemingly mundane task, it has witnessed its share of adventures.
Some older feller from town likes to ride his bicycle, with the teeny, tiny seat, past our place. Decked out in biker attire, which includes a Spandex pair of pants, odd looking shirt, and a helmet that makes him look like a Klingon from the TV show Star Trek, he is quite a sight to behold when we are mowing the yard with the C and he rides by. When the dog spots him on the bike — the little, overweight, miniature beagle mixed dog that is — and gives chase, it is a great adventure from the tractor seat to watch this man on a bicycle yell, holler, and sometimes even mace the little dog. Heck the dog probably wouldn’t even bother him if he were dressed in normal biker attire like jeans and a t-shirt, and didn’t have the Klingon looking helmet; but to each his own.
I hate snakes. I know, I know they eat mice and other rodents — I have yet to see that ever happen except for the caged snake that the science teacher at school keeps — and even then it is fed a dead, frozen mouse. I have seen my share of snakes from the seat of the C while mowing. What is gratifying however, is when mowing with the C, the snake doesn’t “make it.” Oh well, at least I don’t have to go to see a therapist to ease my snake phobia.
I always get a kick out of people and their lawn mowers. Just in our little neighborhood, there are a couple of high dollar “zero turns,” a couple of newer, expensive, little green riding lawn mowers, and then there is our 1950s era Farmall C. They all do the job of mowing grass. But I’ll bet when those other lawn mowers turn 60 years old, they will be in lawn mower heaven, as opposed to still going strong, like the C.
It is a great adventure to drive the C from one location to another. Putting it in road gear, letting out the clutch and opening up the throttle to hear the four cylinder engine hum down the road is music to my ears. The only drawback to the C is that the power take off isn’t “live,” meaning that every time the clutch is pushed in. Anything connected to the P.T.O stops. When mowing around buildings, this is of course tricky business, as one has to plan ahead and make sure stops are kept to a minimum.
For me, mowing with the C has always been an adventure, even if there weren’t any bikers and snakes. I just hope I can still crank up and go to work at the age of 60 like the C still does. So after the next “marital discussion” with the wife, I will just silently nod and accept her edict about the 1950s. The Farmall C, another part of life on the farm.