Farewell, old friend


There’s a lot we could discuss today. Notre Dame burning; a terrible sight. Horrible. I’ve been to Paris a long time ago, climbed the Eiffel tower, saw many sights. But this afternoon I’m thinking hard and I can’t recall specifically seeing that magnificent cathedral. A real shame.

We could also talk about Space X’s feat of launching another sortie with it’s Falcon Heavy rocket, and how they landed all three sections successfully. Pretty awesome.

And how could we miss the capturing of the first image of a black hole, ever? A picture taken of what is essentially a negative, entire galaxies swept into the maul of all-consuming nothingness? Amazing.

But I don’t want to get into that stuff, you all can find the articles with ease and probably know a little about the above anyhow.

No, I want to talk about parting with an old friend, an International Harvester Farmall Super A. It is a chunk of American iron cranked out during our postwar zenith, 1951. Twenty odd horsepower, reliable, and the killer of many a mule. This is the tractor that finally chased the last of the horses from agriculture over here, it was marketed at the ten-acre farm.

My great-grandfather had one on his little farm, I remember it vaguely from my earliest childhood. Tough, reliable, and versatile, these things were built to last a lifetime.

Obviously, mine outlived its previous owner. I bought it in deplorable shape, worked on it between deployments, and soon had it running as good as new. A nearly seventy year old tractor that doesn’t burn oil, was probably never rebuilt, and works as well as it did when it left the implements dealer.


Sadly, though, I no longer need it. I used to keep a large garden, the little Farmall has done some plowing and a lot of snow removal. But let’s face it, a modern machine can do that stuff better and more efficiently. So I let it sit, a serious mistake. Should have started it up every few months, but I let it sit for a couple of years. As any old mechanic will tell you, it’s harder on a machine to sit than to be constantly used.

So one sunny morning a couple of days ago I tried to start it up. No luck, the starter was bad and I don’t have the factory crank handle.

With regret, I put it on eBay. Hopefully the little tractor will go to an enthusiast, a good home. I’m not a collector, I get rid of stuff when I don’t have a need for it.

The tractor has been a good machine, it’s done everything I’ve asked. Everything that has been asked since the fifties.

Hopefully it will go to a pampered home somewhere.

I’ll replace it when it’s gone with a new four-wheel drive diesel. Something tells me, though, that the new unit won’t last half as long as the Farmall. Indeed, if properly maintained the Farmall will probably outlast my new unit.

I’d ask why they don’t build them like that anymore, but the question answers itself. What use does a tractor dealer have in selling one tractor, one time, to a farmer? Wouldn’t it be better economics to sell him a tractor every ten years?

A shame. It’s a sawed off saying, but they really don’t make them like that anymore, probably intentionally, for the reason mentioned above.

Ridiculous, a machine that lasts for seventy years.

But true.

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