Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam WUES recognizes November Bus Riders of the Month NAHS Beta Club sponsors canned food drive Peebles Elementary announces November Students of the Month Crisis text line reaches out during the holidays Paul Wesley Ailshire

A place where a farm boy could dream

Like most boys who grew up on a farm, I recall a place that held the attention of a kid and yet allowed them to dream also. I’m speaking of the tractor and implement store. Since my dad farmed with Ford tractors and mostly Ford implements, my place of fascination was in Bethel at Harlow’s Tractor Sales. The make of the tractor determined a boys’ first dealership he got to see and enjoy.

In late winter getting near to spring, Dad would take a drive over to Harlow’s with a list of needs in his pocket and me at his side, as he wasn’t going to get to go there without me. From the time we entered the showroom, my eyes would widen with the expectation of two tractors on display that were that year’s brand, new and just out of the factory models. These were probably the models that were sold the most and had all the newest features. What also made them huge in my mind was that the service counter was just past them, so customers had to walk past and stand by them the entire time they were ordering their supplies. I was even allowed to climb up and sit behind the wheel of a new Power Master or Work Master and just sit there and imagine just what task I was working that tractor through.

Dad usually had a lengthy shoppin list because he was stocking up for when the spring farming surge began. While Dad waited and was finally waited on, I would go outside into the lot where more tractors, corn planters, plows, discs, and hay balers filled the lot and my imagination. They were all bright and shiny and so awesome. They all looked better than Dad’s tools that had been used in the fields with the shine was gone.

At times there seemed to be a spell cast over me. Why can’t Dad just buy a new tractor and all of these new pieces of equipment? He would be the best looking farmer in the county. Fortunately the spell would break and I’d move on to another implement and study it to see if I could identify any new change in this model.

With my inspection of everything on the lot I would gravitate back into the showroom where Dad was building a large pile of parts to buy. I would study for a minute what he had and then move over to the one side of the room that I had saved for last. This was where the pedal Ford tractors were but even better than that were the built-to-scale Ford tractor replicas that could be purchased with a plow, a disc, and a wagon. (All were built to scale and every kid saw then as a toy that ranked at the top of its class.)

Another feature I liked at the store was that the men there treated me like I was a customer and would answer questions about tractors and equipment if I asked. I think two things were going on here. Number one, my Dad was buying parts and he always paid cash. Number two was that maybe I might be able toconvince Dad to buy me a scaled tractor and plows. From what I recall Mr. Harlow, the owner,was a very nice soft spoken man who my Dad thought a lot of. His two sons, Jerry and Larry, also worked there and they were always friendly and helpful to Dad and very nice to me. I always felt that my Dad was a good judge of character and if he thought well of someone,then I looked at them favorably. He liked them, therefore I liked them.

Dad was a regular customer at Harlow’s even past his farming days because they sold Wheel Horse tractor mowers and I visited too until they closed within the last decade, and sadly many other dealerships have also. Harlow’s was the first business that I knew existed in the town of Bethel, but it is safe to say that boys all over the country went with their Dads to the tractor dealership of whatever tractor their Dad used, whether it be Allis Chalmers, Farm All, John Deere, or Massey Ferguson.

The tractor place was a magical place, a fact that I doubt any boy (but especially farm boys) would deny. There is something about when you are young and your Dad pounds it into your head to be careful and don’t get near the tractor or the hay baler, but at the dealership you can go near the machinery and touch it and look deep into what makes it what it is and not be told to back away or be careful. It could be approached and looked at through the eyes of a curious little boy all they wanted.

The next time you talk to a little boy who just returned from a dealershipm ask them if the enjoyed themselves. I know I did and guess what? I still do look at the tractors and implements just for the fun of it. At least that is what I tell my wife.

Rick Houser was raised on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

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