FIRST THINGS

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Nancy SmithNancy Smith

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Richard and I have our bags packed again. This time, we're headed to Ontario, to take in some Milton-area tractor shows and visit with as many local collectors as we can. Sherwood Hume, owner of the only Hume tractor known to still exist, has kindly set the schedule. We've packed plenty of film, notebooks and pencils, and we'll bring you a full report.

Bernice Piper, who is Perry Piper's widow, sent a July 18, 2002, clipping of the Paris, Ill., Beacon-News. It recounts the recent visit Sherwood and his wife, Gladys, paid to Hume, Ill., with their tractor. Mike Grafton of Hume organized the event. He's been searching for one of these tractors for years and is quoted in the newspaper as feeling like his 'heart was dropping' when he finally saw Sherwood's. Mike's hoping the publicity will flush another Hume from the fields, because Sherwood doesn't plan to part with his. 'We have 40 tractors,' Sherwood told the reporter, 'It will become part of the gang.'

Also in that gang is at least one Cockshutt, we've learned, thanks to Jan Shellhouse's story in this issue, 'Red and Rare,' which features Fred Bocka of Mansfield, Ohio. Sherwood's 1939 Cockshutt 80 is one of the tractors in the book Cockshutt, The Complete Story, which also tells us Cockshutts first were made in Brantford, Ontario, just down the road from Sherwood's home.

Speaking of 'just down the road' and in contrast to the Canada trip, we recently were lucky enough to attend a Plow Day near Eudora, Kan., also reported on in this issue. It spoke plainly to me of the special bond shared by people who appreciate and preserve vintage farm equipment, whether they live in Kansas or Canada, or anywhere else. At Plow Day, my excited husband got to drive a John Deere tractor for the first time. Edwin Eisele, a nephew of one of the event's organizers and an engineer at Deere & Company in Waterloo, Iowa, was at the wheel when he beckoned Richard to climb aboard. Later Richard observed he felt he experienced a bit of that fabled John Deere service with Ed at his elbow during his inaugural run. Where, I wonder, will this lead?