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It Can't Be Done

I’ll never forget the time back when I was a boy baling hay on our Farm in Big Rapid, Michigan. The most memorable event that took place was a trip up the steepest incline on the farm pulling an old New-Idea baler with a pony-motor for power and a haywagon. I had just talked my Dad into buying an old John Deere B with 6-speeds ahead and I was real proud of it, except it was a little smaller than the Case tractor that we normally used for pulling the heavy baler and wagon. On the steepest hill on the farm we always had to unhook the hay wagon from the baler because it was just too much to pull it all up at once. One hot Summer day when we arrived at that point I suggested to my brothers there that my old B could do the job where the Case couldn’t. I was met with a round of guffaws and laughs where I was informed that the B certainly could not pull the baler with a full load of hay up the incline. This defeat without a trial was more than I could bear and I argued with them for a bit. I determined to show them that the B COULD do it. The problem was, was I wasn’t all that sure myself.

After lunch I got on the old John Deere B and hooked on to the heavy old New Idea baler with the pony-motor engine on it with the fully loaded hay wagon behind it. We started the gas engine on the baler and headed towards the steep hill. Joining the windrow once again I put the B into low gear and started up the hill. My brother and sister were riding on the haywagon behind just for the amusement to see me fail in my attempt to surmount the steepest incline on our farm with this new tractor. As incline increased the John Deere’s tires dug ever deeper into the ground and the rhythmic cadence of the engine grew ever louder. As the engine began to slow, I saw the smiles begin to appear on my spectator’s faces on the wagon behind me. I knew they were getting ready for me to stop and unhook the wagon so I could continue. I could feel the tractor hunker even lower and deeper in back as I reached forward and advanced the throttle to give her all she had. The tractor groaned as we approached the steepest part of the hill and it looked like the old girl wouldn’t make it after all as the engine banged ever louder and slower. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and spoke to he, urging her on: “Come on girl, you can do it! Show’em you can do it! Just this time!” For a while I couldn’t tell if the engine sound was my heart thumping or the tractor’s exhaust. I looked back and the smiles on the haywagon had turned into slack-jawed faces as if they were expecting something to come apart. With the tires clawing the ground like a cat on a tin roof and the front wheels nearly weightless, we continued up the steep incline inch by inch. Baler, wagon, disbelievers and all until we neared the top. Cheers broke out as we mounted the summit and the John Deere almost seemed to stand up taller as if it was proud of it’s accomplishment. I’ll never forget that day and when I put the B away for the night, I patted her hood as I smelled the heat coming off her radiator and said, “You’re a good tractor” and then headed in for dinner.

Neil, MI, entered 2002-11-01
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