Once the tractor was in gear, I used my free hand to grab the throttle. I attempted to let the clutch out slowly. However, I learned one arm wasn't enough for clutching purposes. My feet slipped off the clutch; gravity took over and in sheer desperation, I hung on to the throttle to prevent myself from falling off the tractor. In doing so, I managed to open the old M up all the way. Needless to say, it took off like a jackrabbit. I was told later by eyewitnesses that I managed to get about 3 feet of air between the ground and the front tires.
The M made it across the field in short order. The rake literally shot hay from underneath, up into the air, and several feet past the row I was supposed to be raking. I think the top speed on a Farmall M 12 mph, but at that point, you couldn't have made me believe it was going any less than 100. I made it to within running distance of the truck and hit the kill switch on the tractor to stop the engine, instead of dealing with the clutch again. After the M ground to a halt, I took off running. My pace hastened as the tractor backfired, making me think the thunder was chasing me. I made it to the safety of the truck and waited on pins and needles, not knowing how my father would react.
Much to my surprise, he got in the truck laughing. Wheeewww! I was safe. Dad was there to protect me. Since, I have moved from the farm to take a local government job, but the place is still in the family, as is the M, which I still like to start up and drive around the yard whenever I am home.
- Charles T. Woycik, Jr., 17329 Trimmers Road, Orange, VA 22960; (540) 672-7384
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