I did enjoy my morning. Because it was the Gathering of the Orange, Allis Chalmers tractors were out in force. Our tractor club president was there with his wife, in the Allis tent. He had three tractors there. This was the biggest of the three
Then I saw a tent FULL of Allis Chalmers tractors, all painted up and pretty. I couldn't wait to see them. OK, maybe I just wanted to get in the shade. As it happened, though, I did get to hear some stories. You KNOW how I love stories.
A friendly lady was there who obviously had something to do with the collection. "Does one person own all these tractors?" I asked.
"Yes, we own all but four of them at the other end that belong to some friends."
"Good grief, how did you get them all here?"
Obviously some people have more funds than we do.
We talked about one thing and another. She and her husband are from Vandalia, Missouri. She said Lathrop was about as far as they ever intended to haul their tractors. She told me the stories of a couple of their Allis Chalmers tractors, but I'll share my favorite one.
When Linda was in the eighth grade, she developed a crush on a freshman. Finally she got the nerve to invite him to a hayride, and from then on, they dated.
As a teenager, her then boy friend was known to be a hard worker, and a neighboring farmer wanted to hire him to farm 160 acres. The kid, if he did that, would have to use his dad's equipment. Being a dreamer, and knowing his uncle had traded in a two-year-old Allis Chalmers WD 45 at the local dealer's place, he went to look at that used tractor. He told the dealer he didn't have any money, he was just checking things out so he would know, when he DID have some money. Then he asked the dealer if he had a good used three-bottom plow and a disk on hand. Yes, he did.
"If I had any money, how much would it cost for the tractor, the plow, and the disk," he asked.
"$1,200", the dealer told him.
And the kid went home.
The next day he came home from school and there at the house sat the tractor, the plow, and the disk.
"Do you know anything about this stuff?" his dad asked.
"I don't know why it's here," he answered.
And he went in the house and called the dealer to ask what was going on.
"I want you to have that tractor," the guy said.
"But I don't have any money."
"It's OK. You can pay me when you are able."
"My dad isn't going to like that."
"Son, I walked to school with your dad when we were kids. You tell him to stay out of this, it's between you and me."
So that's what he told his dad, and his dad just smiled and walked away.
When they were still dating, he took a tool box off an old combine and added it as an extra to the tractor. And put her name on it. When he took the tractor to have it re-done a couple of years back, he told them to remove it, since it wasn't original equipment. "Oh no you don't," Linda told him. "I want it on there, and the year we started dating. The kids will always remember when we got married, but I want them to remember the year we first met."