My first paying job was working for my Uncle James Rodgers bailing hay, chopping corn or plowing the river bottoms below the high school or off the Van Wyck Highway. Your first paying job tends to leave behind very profound memories. This is an excerpt from one of those stories.
Flashback toooooooooooo, ohhhhhhh, 1962 sounds good. Twelve-year-olds probably shouldn’t drive tractors but I did. I also drove a thirties model Chevy or GMC hay truck as soon as my legs were long enough to reach the accelerator and strong enough to depress the clutch. I learned to drive on a big 1940’s era John Deere Model A in hay and cornfields or on roads that led to the river bottoms. Six-foot tall rear tires, two smaller wheels in a tricycle configuration on the front, hand clutch that I could barely engage and six forward gears. This was John Deere’s first tractor to offer rubber tires. I sat in a backed bench seat which was unlike the seats on other similar era tractors. That is when I sat! Mostly I stood on a flat platform so I could see over the long hood that covered the old two-cylinder gas engine that at low revolutions made a “pap, pap, pap, pap” sound as each cylinder fired. Even at high revs you could still hear each individual cylinder fire. The Model A had been top of the line from the late Thirties to the late Forties and I’ll bet that there are Model A’s and its little brother the Model B still in operation today. The B was a smaller version of the A but it was not small. Driving those tractors and the old “one-ton” were the high points of my farmhand career…that and the two dollars a day plus midday meal I was compensated with for an early-thirty to dark-thirty day.
Excerpt from the GOOD OLD DAYS, a story in PAHTWAYS which can be downloaded on Kindle or purchased through Amazon at http://goo.gl/v7SdkH.