Thai version

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Learning to Drive

It was June, 1954 and it was wheat harvest time on our farm seven miles east on Quincy from Pittsburg, Kansas Broadway Street however we lived in Missouri. We had a Ford 6 cylinder tractor and we had just gotten an Allis Chambers combine. The combine was pulled behind the tractor and the tractor powered the operation of the combine from the power take off on the tractor. It had a 6 foot combining (cutting width). It sure would look like an infant compared to the 25 and 30 self propelled combines of today. After that we finished the chores me and my brother Johnnie worked combining our wheat.

We had about 20 milk cows at that time that we milked them all by hand. Our dad usually helped us milk in the morning and in the evening. However if he did not make it home from work in the evenings the two of us would carry on milking and doing chores together with out him. Dad was always there to help us in the mornings with the chores. Every morning the truck from the Borden Company came and picked up our milk. A guy by the name of Harry Lee Van Dorn drove the milk truck that picked up our milk he married one of our neighbor girl that lived ¼ of a mile east of us.

I had operated a tractor since that I was 9 years old. I had also drove our 1946 chevy11/2 ton truck after somebody else had started it and put it in gear. The seat was fixed on that truck it was not adjustable, like on the cars. On that truck it had a starter on the floorboard by the gas petal. You had to press down on the starter petal to start the truck. This truck had a throttle that could be pulled from the dash to speed the trucks movement since I could not reach the gas pedal.

Now with my brother who was four years older than me operating the combine I had to be able to drive the truck to the combine to unload the combine bin when it was full of wheat. So it was my job to wait in the truck till Johnnie stopped the combine. Then I had to put the truck into neutral get on the floorboard and depress the starter and get the truck started. Then while still on the floorboard I would push in the clutch and put the truck in low (we called it compound you had a spring loaded lever shifter to pull up on to put it into that gear) then I could jump upon the seat and steer the truck to make it go faster all I had to do was pull the throttle out which on the dash. I was unable to sit on the seat and reach all of the petals to operate the truck so this way I could drive the truck around the field and unload the combine. When it got into place I just pushed in on the clutch or turned off the switch. This is how that I learned to drive.

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