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Fast Ride Down

Fast Ride Down
Long about 1949, my dad was getting back to farming. The neighbors, all small farmers shared some of the big jobs, like picking corn. One fellow would bring a picker, one or two would unload the ear corn into the crib, and one or two more would haul the full and empty wagons back and forth. The neighbor hood was evenly divide between the flat land river bottoms, and the extremely hilly bluffs, where our farm is. Dad was running the pull-behind picker, and had just unhooked from the last load of the day. They quit while still light as they all had livestock to get home and do chores for. Dad climbed onto the full wagon after hooking it to the haul in tractor. Riding atop a full load of ear corn is a pleasure I'll probably never realize again, and do miss it. Pulling out onto the dirt road, the haul in driver, Leland, a flat land farmer opened the F-20 Farmall up to full speed. Maybe 4. 5mph. Maybe. They had a long half mile to go, all downhill. This is where the flat land driver showed his stripes. A few feet out of the gate, the long descent started. Deciding to take the fast way down, and save time, Leland kicked the shifter into NEUTRAL! Dad didn't immediately realize what had happened, just that it seemed to pick up speed awful fast. Fast enough that in 15 seconds he wasn't about to jump. Leland rode the brakes, locking up one wheel and then the other, while the tractor and wagon lurched from one side of the dirt road to the other. There was a small flat spot, he almost had it under control. Then the final descent began, this one even steeper. Leland began shouting for Pete to hang on, or maybe help him. Not even a fool would try to tight rope walk a wagon tongue at 40 miles an hour! The crew emptying wagons looked up just in time to hear all the yelling and see the Farmall and wagon and passengers shoot past the end of the driveway at probably 50 mph. The road leveled out before it reached the highway and by locking the brakes it was finally stopped with the front tires out on the hard surface. The other guys had jumped in a pickup and come to help. Seeing that all was well, a volunteer drove the tractor and wagon back to the farm. Leland jumped in the pickup, Dad said no, after that he walked back. For some reason there after, Dad was always leery of sharing work with the other neighbors. Leland? well he did apologize, and being a flat land farmer said he didn't think a tractor could possibly ever go that fast. Whew, makes a fellow wonder how any of them ever made it.

John K, from Ne, entered 2000-12-03

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