My Ford 8N

During my pre-teen years, I spent most summers on my Uncle's farm in Arizona. This was in the mid 1950's, and I was around ten years old. My two cousins and I would handle the farm task of burning weeds from mile after mile of dirt irrigation ditches by pulling a large Butane tank-trailer with a Ford 8N Tractor.

This tank-trailer had a platform for us to stand on while aiming a threatening looking torch (with a three foot flame) at the weeds, snakes, bugs, and anything else hiding in that ditch full of foot-tall weeds.

Being too young to drive a car, this Ford 8N also became our main transportation into town and to visit friends. We even drove the thing to Little League Baseball games and the movie. The older cousin would always drive while my younger cousin (same age as me) and I would ride on the fenders.  Sometimes when the front-end of that 8N would start to shimmy, it got real scary being on those fenders.

Finally, after several summers working on that farm, my tenth birthday game and I was going to be taught to actually drive the tractor.  Five minutes of "this is the throttle", and "this is the brake", and I graduated from tractor driving school.

With my cousins on the fenders, down the dirt road toward the Gila River we went. With the front-end shimmying, and my older cousin barking orders to "stay left", I drove that old tractor straight into the drivers door of a parked, brand new 1956 Plymouth.

I didn't get to drive the tractor anymore that summer, but that old 8N is now mine. A gift from my Uncle in the year of his death. I am starting on the restoration of that old tractor this year.  Yep, it's rusty and the tires have been flat for years, but I love that old tractor. And I can tell you that it is possible for an old 8N to be more valuable than money.

I know it's not green, but it is special and I'll never be able to part with it!

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