That's My Girl|
Story of a Farmall 460
by LeAnn R. Ralph
How many sounds can you think of that are as familiar to you as your own
What about the hum of your refrigerator? Or the thump of your clothes
dryer? Maybe the engine of your car?
You hear those sounds every day, and you don't think much about them, do you.
I can think of a few common, ordinary sounds in my daily life, too.
However, I certainly didn't expect a TRACTOR to be at the top of the list.
Well, not just any tractor. It's a 460 Farmall my dad bought in the early
1960's when I was about four years old. After my brother sold his dairy
cattle last year and then held an auction to sell some of the farm
equipment he no longer needed, my husband and I decided to buy the 460.
When Dad owned the tractor, he used it to plow in the spring, to cut and
bale hay in the summer, to combine oats and pick corn, and in the winter,
he used it to move snow. As the 460 hunkered down to work, it made a
distinctive thrumming roar, and the sound meant I knew just exactly where
Dad was and that all was right with my world.
Randy and I only have a five-acre hayfield, though, so the tractor doesn't
do nearly as much work as it used to. And I certainly don't spend as much
time listening to her as I once did, either. Still, it's kind of fun to
have the old girl around. Sort of like having a little bit of Dad here with
One day when we were getting ready to bale our second crop hay, while Randy
was out raking ‹ and Dad would probably laugh himself SILLY over that one,
using the 460 to rake when she's used to doing heavier work like plowing ‹
I decided to pick the pole beans.
I knew we'd be baling in just a little while, but I wanted to pick the
beans before I forgot about them.
As I reached the garden, Randy approached this end of the field, raking the
last windrow. But I wasn't really paying attention to the tractor. I was
intent on finding beans lurking underneath the vines and leaves.
However, as I searched for pole beans, an idle thought popped into my head.
'Why does the 460 sound like a John Deere? Sort of put-putting like?'
I stopped, then, to listen. Randy headed back down the field to finish the
windrow, and I decided it must have been my imagination.
A little while later, though, when Randy pulled up by the garden, I knew it
WASN'T my imagination. The tractor definitely sounded odd.
"What's wrong with the 460?" I shouted over the sound of the engine.
"Wrong?" Randy replied, shutting down the tractor, "nothing's wrong. What
makes you think that?"
"She sounds funny."
Randy shrugged. He climbed off the tractor, and as he walked around the
front, he glanced at the engine.
"Oh," he said, "maybe this is why you think it sounds funny." He replaced
two spark plug wires that had come off, and then he climbed back on the
A few seconds later Randy restarted the tractor, but she still didn't sound
"That's not it," I yelled.
With a sigh, Randy shut off the tractor, climbed down, switched the wires
around, and started the engine once more.
And just like that, the 460 sounded like herself, humming along just as
nice as you please with that old, distinctive thrumming roar.
"THAT'S my girl!" I shouted, knowing once again, all was right with my world.
Randy just shook his head.
During those years I'd spent listening to the 460 while Dad plowed and cut
hay and baled and combined and picked corn and moved snow, I'd had no idea
the sound of the 460's engine had become as ingrained as the sound of my
But it had.
And right then I could imagine Dad, somewhere in that great big farm in the
sky maybe, smiling and agreeing, "Yup. That's my girl."
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