PERCY SHERMAN, CLOWNS IT UP AT DARKE COUNTY THRESHERS, WESTERN OHIO


| March/April 1966



Percy Sherman

Courtesy and photo by Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana Sometimes ye Iron-Man gets to tellin 'em too big, and the Keystone Kops whisk him off in their paddy-wagon to jail. But even then, Iron-Man Percy Sherman's throttle fingers fit well around those ja

Joe Fahnestock

And yet this horny-handed, teeth-clenching cigar-chewing Iron Man Percy Sherman is as sensitive about his age as any spinster of 39 his eternal energy and vigor belying the 76 years he revealed to me during an unguarded moment of secrecy and confidence.

It would require volumes of encyclopedic proportions to record the years of experience of one Iron Man Percy Sherman the nights he's slept in the hay-lofts of midwest barns after rumbling his Iron monster for miles down dark and muddy country roads with only the flickering glimmer of the coal-oil headlight to be ready at the crack-'o-dawn to start the day's threshing.

And the expert 'maneuvering' an old-time thresherman had to indulge in, like a United Nations diplomat, to get out of eating at a thresherman's dinner where the farm wife lacked those necessary culinary accomplishments sufficient to whet ye thresherman's appetite.

Like this one Perce often tells about. 'This particular farmer's wife wasn't a very good cook and I dreaded sitting down to her table when the dinner bell rang,' says Percy, shifting his cigar to the side of this mouth. 'A lady I knew across the road just invited me to sneak over to her table to eat. She knew I didn't relish the grub at the other woman's table and she was a real cook, too.'

And when it comes to telling 'em about his mighty Russell Engine well, Perce Sherman simply can't be outdone swappin' stories 'round the old shop pot-bellied stove with the rest of the throttle-jerkin' boys.

'Never forget the time I was work-in' my Russell at a big tractor-pullin' contest,' muses Perce. 'The tractor men watched my Russell perform, then they challenged me to hitch-up to one of their big tractors for a tug-o'-war. Well, I out-pulled the first one, then they wanted to hitch on two and I out-pulled them. Before it was over I had five tractors hitched on the other end of that chain and still the old Russell inched 'em backwards. Were they ever a disillusioned lot when I got through workin' 'em over with the Russell.'