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Friday, December 31, 2010


I can hear the sirens (ok, in my head...) -



I found that the shifter handle on my Farmall F-20 has somehow managed to end up getting bent (I found this out AFTER I painted it, of course), so I began the search for a "new" one. Amongst the "rubble" of the nearby farmstead, there is the remains of an old Farmall "Regular" - and it had a gearshift handle sticking out of it. The Regular is the precursor of the F-20, so I had high hopes.

Two bolts, and it was MINE (insert sleazy, covetous laugh...)! I couldn't wait to get it home and compare it with my bent one. It was a little rusty from sitting outside all those years, but I can handle rust. After removing the "spring, washer, and cup", I had the "bare" handle to set beside the bent one.

It LOOKED the same, but was about 3" longer than the damaged one. About an hour later, I got an e-mail from a friend who had compared part numbers. He said that it would work, but those OP guys would have a "field day" (bad pun - sorry...) with it.

I've been to a few tractor shows over the years (although it took me several years to get to the one 12 miles from our house...). It's always funny to watch - and listen to - self proclaimed "experts" in the "field" (ok - another bad pun...).

I mean, there will be guys going over each machine until they FIND a fatal flaw in it's "originality".

"Well Ralph, the guy did a FAIR job on his restoration - BUT - you see that washer under that fender bolt? NO WAY that thing is original"

"Yeah, Wayne, I saw that. It's a crying SHAME, too. Some people just have NO respect...."

Meanwhile, the poor owner as been milling about, and over hears every word the two "cops" have said. Now he's scarred for life, and just wishes the show were over so he can crawl back under his rock and search for that elusive correct washer. His only hope is that someone will take pity on his soul, and let him redeem himself by offering to send him one from 200 miles away for just shipping and a "handling fee".

It's only AFTER the guy has spent $45 on the stupid washer, that he finds green paint on the bottom side, and learns it's from a John Deere - and he has an International Harvestor....

Now THAT can never happen, so the search begins again. He MUST find the correct piece - or risk having to either be shamed again at the show, or leave his tractor home.

After months of searching, hours of lost sleep, too much coffee (cream, two sugars...), lack of food, pulling out his hair, wearing the same clothes for weeks, not showering, never shaving (ok, I do this one...), racking up phone bills, loosing his job, becoming a hermit of Howard Hughes' porportions, spending more time with his tractor then his family, sending hundreds of e-mails, hogging the computer, and missing several family functions, he finds some guy in Nova Scotia who has the same tractor he has - and he has a SPARE WASHER!

Of course, now he has to pay "overseas shipping", extra "handling fees", and insurance.....

This is where the wife leaves him and takes the kids with her.

At least he has that washer, so now he can enjoy life.....

Until he finds out his wife wants the tractor as part of the divorce....

Oh well, she ends up with everything, so the straight jacket won't clash with his wardrobe.

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