There are things I miss and then things I don’t realize I miss. It’s ironic but I can’t really come up with a list of the things I miss however I can remember one thing I didn’t realize I missed; someone recently brought up a topic which unearthed some missed memories.
Writing is pretty easy, finding a weekly topic is tough. Back to the wall, I asked a friend for help and he hit a home run. I didn’t realize it until now, but I miss the pull-type combine.
I’m sure there’s a reason for combines that are self-propelled; probably reasons of efficiency and capacity. I even like the look of the self-propelled combine but there was something special about the pull-type combine trailing behind a two-wheel drive tractor. Maybe the contrasting colors of the two machines revealed the story of what the farmer who owned the combination preferred in machinery. There was the possibility of of an International Harvester tractor pulling a John Deere combine which, if you were a diehard to either brand, was heresy.
The pull-type combine model number was typically just one more digit than the self-propelled version. A self-propelled John Deere 6600 became a pull-type 6601. An International Harvester 1480 self-propelled became a 1482 pull-type. They were both the same capacity but different only by their mode of transport. The pull-type combine was just a nice way to reduce cost of equipment by pairing the pull-type with a tractor the farmer already owned.
My dad owned a few different combines in his time but one memorable pull-type was an old Case that I only saw in action as yard-art along the side of the woods. It featured a Wisconsin gas engine that older siblings have assured me required at least three hours to start. My dad would hand-crank that thing for hours. The crank had no emergency release so each time the engine backfired, the crank would kick my dad in the arm. It must have been awful. My dad was a well-spoken, intelligent man however any missing ozone layer north of Viking was not caused by anything other than the blue streak of epithets that my dad needed to speak while trying to crank that engine over by hand.
I suppose this all comes down to sentiment. I can justify missing pull-type combines for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. But when I really dig into it, it isn’t the tractors or combines I miss, it’s the memories. Stories about my dad’s epoch battles with that old Case combine or remembering how excited my brother Steve was about about purchasing his first 6601 John Deere. Just remembering a time when you could see several different farmers in the field on any given day and the land that you harvested probably touched the land on which your home set makes me feel good inside. There’s a lot of good work accomplished and a lot of good memories made by those old pull-type combines.