John Farrier's Comments

Oh, is that what it meant? I saw mentions of it in my Twitter feed (where I follow Zach Weinersmith), but I didn't understand what they were talking about.
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Okay, I will.

I was about 15 or 16 and just learning how to drive. The tractor was a complex machine. It had a clutch, a throttle, a choke and two separate brakes. I had managed to briefly drive in second gear without killing anyone.

My uncle said that we needed to drive a mile or so down the road to see a neighbor. So I started driving the tractor. He thought that we weren't going fast enough, so he told me to put it into third gear, which I had never done before. I did so. Then he said that we should slip into fourth gear.

The tractor's shift plate had eroded over 50 years, so the number 4 had long since disappeared. I had no idea the tractor even had a fourth gear. "Get into fourth gear," he said. "What?!" This was a crazy idea. "Step on the clutch." I did so. My uncle reached over me and shifted the tractor into fourth gear.

So we were now barreling down a country highway at what I can assume was a hundred miles an hour. At least, that's how it felt.

I had only a vague sense of how the brakes worked. That became critical as we approached an intersection with cars. We survived because the cars were not on collision courses with us and I did know how to slow us down a bit with the throttle.

The other time I suppose I was about 12. My father was driving. I stood behind him on the toolbox mounted on the frame and my brother was straddling the engine. We drove along a ditch. This tractor had a high center of gravity and we were moving at a steep angle. At the time, it seemed quite likely to me that we would roll over and the tractor would land on top of my brother.
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I learned how to drive on a 1940 Ford 9N tractor. My grandparents owned it. It was a remarkably durable machine. They never tried to preserve it as an antique. It just kept going and going, in active use until the early 1990s.

I have a couple terrifying stories about that tractor.
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I discovered The Chin while watching Xena: Warrior Princess. He was great as Autolycus.

He also starred in a short-run series in 2000 called Jack of All Trades. It was reasonably good.
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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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