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Then Bent Wagon Tongue

When I was a mere lad of about 6 years old I created a permanent feature on a neighbors hay wagon that could perhaps exist yet today given the durability of farmer-made equipment. The scenario opens at the time of the first cutting of hay, a very hot day, and my father has bales to pick up, corn to cultivate, weeds to hoe, livestock to attend to, and who knows what else. An uncle from the city is to show up to drive the old A-C WC in the field picking up the hay bales. For whatever reason he is late and Dad is ready to go. So, he tells me that I will drive the tractor but not to worry because as we near the end of the field he will come to the tractor to turn it around for me. Well as luck or circumstances work out, we near the end of the row of neatly arranged bales of hay and their seems to be a virtual glut of bales clustered together. So while Dad handles this, I am nearing - or at least feel I am nearing the end of the field and perceive the fence as a barrier looming down on me at breakneck speed. So I initiate turning the steering wheel of the old WC surpising my Dad and probably myself too as I had never done this before, only watched others - and remember a 1936 WC was well before power steering. Of course the throttle setting was cut way back to 'extremely slow' but not slow enough for me to not understand the dynamics of clearances required to avoid contact between the rubber tire of the left rear wheel of the WC and the steel tongue of the neighbors bowwoed hay wagon. So, contact they did and before my Dad could intervene I had allowed a nice little bend to be made in the tongue. Not anything of significance, but noticable. Well, the result was that the crimp in the tounge was deemed to be not important enough to be attended to. But for the next 25 years anytime I was in the presence of this otherwise perfect hay wagon, I had a visual reminder of my early lesson learned about turning radii of farm equipment. Finally the implement was sold at an auction in 1971. I often wondered if the buyer ever wondered who bent the tongue!

Dave Schaffer, IL, entered 2009-03-08
My Email Address: Not Displayed

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