By "Johnny M"|
Hello, it has been a long lonely winter. I remember when times were very good.
If you have a few minutes I would like to tell you about myself. THE RED NOSED JOHN DEERE
Picture this: 1949, Dubuque, Iowa, I could feel myself coming to
life. As I looked around me there were other tractors, just like me. I
was called 'M'. Well, I'll be quite honest with you, I had no idea
what that meant. After some fuss, I was cleaned up, painted GREEN, and
put outside. Then one day I heard a tractor coming close to me. He went
"a-putt-putt-a-putt-putt" just like me, but he wasn't as loud as I am. He was a
friendly little guy, from Moline. He worked there at the factory and he
was even smaller than I was. His name was 'L'. We became very good
friends until one day I was put on a railcar and started on a very long
journey. There were other green tractors there, but with all the noise
and shaking it was very hard to get to know anyone.
When all was said and done I ended up at a dealership in Gananoque, Ontario. A whole different country from where I was born. I was only there 2 days when some folks came and looked me over real good. The man had on coveralls and was asking this fellow in a suit all kinds of questions while this wonderful lady kept telling them how pretty I was. Next thing you know I was on another trip. This time I went on the back of a truck with a M2 plow. This trip was a lot shorter. At that time I didn't realize the M2 and I would remain close for the next 50 years. We came to a place near Mallorytown. It was a nice little farm with lots of rolling hills. Guess what? Those nice folks, the Gills, that I met at the dealership, were there. After some howdy-do's, the man ( Arnold ) sat on my seat and the service man showed him how to start me up. You've never seen a little fella putt so proudly. They hooked all kinds of machinery on to me, even my friend M2. When this was all done the missus ( Mary ) climbed onto my seat. She made a comment, which left me with mixed feelings. She said, "it's very awkward to get into the seat but when you're there it is very comfortable". She started me up and away we went around the yard. Oh what fun we had. When it started getting dark Arnold put me in a shed. I spent many nights there talking with all my friends, that I would pull around in the daytime. In the years ahead Mary drove me most of the time while Arnold usually sat on the implements behind. About the only time Arnold drove me was in the fall when M2 and I plowed the fields. Wow! That was about the hardest work I ever had to do. You see I only had 18 hp. and M2 made 2 fourteen-inch furrows.
Life was really good, until one day when a truck came into our yard. There was a red tractor on it; a funny looking thing called a baler and a plow. Well, the service man and the Gills went through the same things with this red fellow as they did when I moved here. That day I found out what "nothing runs like a Deere" means. That red tractor just didn't sound right. The next thing I knew they had that baler hooked on the back of Mr. Red (that's what he wanted to be called). You wouldn't believe the noise and the shaking that thing did. I thought Elvis just dropped in. As I think back, the only good thing that happened that day was when Mary said she would still rather drive me. From then on my chores were mainly to draw hay wagons from the fields. Very boring work, I'm here to tell ya. That went on for a few years till one day Mr. Red wasn't well. You should have seen me smile when that service man came back and took him away. Then the smile went away. Arnold hooked me onto the baler. We went out to the field with that silly red baler behind me. Well when Arnold started what he called baling, all the shaking darn near shook me apart. I thought plowing was hard. Well I tried my best, but that darn baler just wouldn't co-operate. After about half an hour of the heat and shaking something went wrong inside my motor. Arnold didn't have many good things to say to me. He unhooked me from the baler and it was all I could do to drive to the back of the barn. If I knew he was just going to leave me there I would have tried harder to get to my shed. I can't even remember how long I sat there, maybe 3 years or more. I thought everybody had forgotten about me.
Then one day a fellow I hadn't seen for a long time came over to me. Well, Arnold's grandson and I had never been close. He liked Mr. Red. Next thing I knew I was on a truck going to the high school shop. Well, they had some big plans on doctoring me up. They did a lot of taking me apart but the putting together was a different story. I think they forgot I had 2 cylinders. When I left there I could only run on one cylinder and my clutch was still slipping. Here I go, back on the truck and home again. I didn't like what I was to see when I got there. Now Mr. Red was in my shed and I was left in the barnyard.
This part of my life is hard to talk about. I sat there for over 15 years in the heat and the cold. Nobody even came to talk to me. The cows decided they liked the taste of rubber and ate parts from me. Then one day, I think it was in the summer of '85, I noticed a fellow who was looking over the fence at me. The next day he was there again. He came over to me with Mr. Gill. They talked for a few minutes and the fellow (John was his name) offered Mr. Gill $500 to buy me, but only if I could drive to the road under my own power. I was frightened. I was barely alive. John must have noticed how nervous I was. He turned my motor a little bit with my hand crank and smiled at me. He told me all was going to be ok. The next day he came again and changed my oil, put clean water in me, and a battery. He gave me some new gas. That stuff tasted funny. There was no lead in it. We tried my starter but it was rusted and would not work. Next he tried my hand crank. I started on my one good cylinder. I was embarrassed because I sounded so bad and there was so much smoke where my muffler used to be. Next he pumped up my tires; he sat on me where my seat used to be and put me in first gear. He let my clutch up and with all my might I crept ahead. Well that one mile drive to John's place was a long one. You see, I could barely pull myself in first gear.
During the drive John made me a promise that he would make me good as new again. He put me in a nice garage with lots of tools and a dog to keep me company. He took me all apart, and kept a list of all the things I needed. When I got a look at the list one day, I was sure he would give up on keeping his promise. I needed a complete motor overhaul, clutch and pilot bushing. Most of my rubber parts and wires were broken or missing. Along with that my generator, starter, lights and gauges wouldn't work. There was water in my transmission and my radiator kept leaking dry. John reassured me that everything would be all right. Then he brought a box with all the new parts I needed. After a month of cleaning fixing and painting, he had me all back together except for my body parts and I still had my old tires. John came in one morning with a new shiny battery. He looked at me and said this was my big day. He hooked my new cables onto that new battery. He told me to always remember that my positive was to the ground. I'm still not sure what he meant. I didn't know I had a positive, and I couldn't find it on the ground. Next he poured some different tasting gas into my tank. Something called a lead additive was in it. John told me this additive would keep me young inside. He put me in neutral, pulled my choke, engaged the starter and WOW!!!! I was so excited! I was alive! You never saw a smile as big as the one I was wearing. John had a big grin, too. Even the dog was barking. The next thing he did was a little embarrassing. He drove me out of the garage and around the yard without my hood and fenders. All the neighbours were watching. I felt so naked I almost turned red. Well I had the last laugh. John was only going to try to see if I would start, so he hadn't put in very much gas. Yes, you guessed it. A few hundred yards up the road and no more a-putt-putt a-putt-putt. John's face was as red as the gas can he had to fetch. The trip back to the garage found me wearing a very large grin. Later that day John replaced my body parts and a friend of his installed some new tires. I felt as if I had been reborn. From this day on life was a lot of fun.
John, his dog, and I spent a lot of sunny winter days in the bush getting firewood. Every year I would pull the Boy-Scout float in the Christmas parade, and I got to know a few tractors in the neighbourhood. My best friend got to be the gray Ford next door. I remember he sure got angry with me one time. It started one day when his owner and John got to talking about us and who was better. (must be a human thing, we tractors aren't concerned about these things) anyway they chained us together and Little Gray (that's what his owner called him) started pulling me backward. There are some things that even John Deeres can't put up with, so I just pulled him back the other way. I pulled him all over the yard. It was a lot of fun till I noticed he was getting angry. Well, after a few days we were friends again.
Life got very lonely when Little Gray moved away a year later. Then John told me I was going to meet lots of new friends in this club he joined. Well, I was a little nervous the first time I was there. Didn't see a green tractor anywhere. Sure were a lot of red ones. There was even an orange one. I'm here to tell ya I didn't stay a stranger long. All the tractors and machinery were so friendly, people came from all over the country to meet us. John introduced me to a thrashing machine. It seemed that the old red tractor that was belted to the thrasher wasn't feeling well and another tractor was needed. John told a group of guys that the color of the other tractor was wrong. Green is the only way to go. That thrashing machine looked a lot bigger with me hooked on to the belt. I also felt odd because I faced the opposite way. My pulley is on the back. I was a little slow getting started, but once I had it turning there was nothing to it. Somebody yelled that if I could run the thrasher for half an hour I would get an honourable mention at the next meeting. Well, I'm a little tractor with a big heart so I couldn't let John down. Now meeting my friends every summer is the best part of my life. Who said retirement isn't good? Oh, if the weather would only warm up I could see some of my friends again.
Submitted by Johnny M's owner,
Brockville, Ontario, Canada