We started off with horses through the 1940’s. Horses the power—yes, actual horse power for transportation and for all the labour on our mixed farm just twenty miles east of Regina, Saskatchewan— a farm that raised cattle, chickens, pigs, and all other sorts of animals, but also grew grain crops.
Our first tractor was an old John Deere. It had a hand clutch so even I, a spunky nine year old, could maneuver it harrowing the freshly seeded fields of grain. But then in 1950 my dad bought a Cockshutt 40– a bright red tractor with beautiful yellow on the wheels and front grill and a silver muffler sticking straight up the middle of the body of the engine.
It was a machine that even I was allowed to drive when I was ten working the summer fallow, pulling the hay rack and hauling water for the chickens, garden, and for the cementing of the foundations of our new barn in 1953.
But what made the waiting time manageable was the gift the dealer gave to my dad for me— an identical model tractor, bright red with the same yellow trimmings. It was my favourite toy. I spent hours with it playing in the sand dirt piles, blown in there between the fields during the dirty thirties drought.
Ten years later it became the toy of my young brother, Mathew. I discovered just a month or so ago, not only was it a favoured toy of his sons Cory and Chad, but now the object of great interest to Chad’s three year old son, Walker.
There in the snapshot sent to me is Walker enjoying the little Cockshutt 40 which, although missing the steering wheel and muffler, still sports some of its original red and yellow paint. Both the memory tractor and its enduring model are treasures to me.