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An Excerpt From OLD TRACTORS AND THE MEN WHO LOVE THEM {or HOW TO KEEP YOUR TRACTORS HAPPY AND YOUR FAMILY RUNNING} by Roger Welsch [url]http://www.ciaccess.com/~jackson1/shed/rules.html[/url] Over the past couple of years, I have collected advice along with my WC's, and I think it is only neighborly that I pass along to you what I have learned. If you're married and are thinking about getting into the old iron business, forget trivial things like socket wrenches and bearing pullers and lay the groundwork for your new hobby by carefully studying the following rules … THE WELSCH RULES OF TRACTOR COLLECTING! RULE #1. Collect only one model and make of tractor - nothing but John Deere Bs or Allis Chalmers Gs, for example. When all your tractors are the same color and shape, it's harder, if not impossible, for anyone (if you catch my drift) to figure out how many tractors you actually have. RULE #2. Similarly, never line up your tractors, ever. Nothing distresses a difficult spouse more than seeing twelve old tractors lined up, looking for all the world like a burning pile of hundred dollar bills. Scatter the tractors around - a couple behind the shed, one or two in the shed, another beside the garage - so that it is not possible for anyone, if you know who I mean, to see more than two or three from any one perspective. Your hobby will be less "irritating" that way, if you know what I mean. RULE #3. For much the same reason, don't number your tractors #1, #2, #3. Give them names. You'd be surprised how much less trouble you will have, if you talk about "Steel Wheels" or "Sweet Allis" rather than "Allis Chalmers WC #14." RULE #4. Somewhere fairly early in your collecting, buy a tractor you don't want. Sell it again as quickly as you can; don't worry about making money on the transaction. The main thing is to get a tractor and get rid of it. Then, for years, you can say, "Yes, Angel-face, I do have six John Deere Bs, and they are in the shed while our car is out in the weather, but that doesn't mean that I will always have six John Deere Bs. Remember the one I got rid of a few years ago? I'm thinking of selling another one any day now so we can put the car in the garage" If you are lucky enough to have a friend who collects tractors, make an arrangement for him to drop off a tractor now and again. That way you can say - if anyone asks - that you bought it. Then have it hauled off again, and say you sold it. With this system, you can re-establish your reputation for moderation every couple of years or so. WARNING: About the time I accumulated my sixth or seventh Allis WC I thought I'd be smart, so I bought a lovely little Allis C. Linda and our nine-year-old daughter Antonia were standing in the farm yard as I unloaded this lovely little item that needed only some wheel work and a new wiring harness. "I see you bought yourself another tractor that doesn't run," said Linda. "Guess what, dear?" I beamed. "I didn't buy myself another Allis Chalmers. I bought you an Allis Chalmers! She's yours, and ain't she cute?" I could tell by the look on her face that she was about as excited as she was the Christmas I gave her a new drain cleaner attachment for her vacuum sweeper, but I wasn't at all prepared for what she said next: "How much can I get for it?" "Er, uh, I didn't get it for you to sell, honey-cakes. I was thinking…if you don't want to drive it all the time, I can take it into town now and then just to keep the oil stirred up for you. It won't be any trouble at all." "Well, thanks, Rog, you're really too sweet, I don't deserve a darling like you. How much can I get for it?" I almost broke into tears at the thought of someone loading that great tractor onto a trailer and driving off with it. I was thinking that I should have gone with my first impulse and said that it had followed me home and could I maybe keep it, but thank goodness, about that time my mind kicked in road gear. "Actually, I thought that if you wouldn't mind sharing, it could also be Antonia's tractor. Right. That's it! Eventually it'll be Antonia's tractor." Antonia leaped into the C's seat with a squeal and started twisting the steering wheel and making tractor noises. Linda snorted something about me fixing my own supper that night - that is, if I was intending to stay over - and headed back toward the house while I helped Antonia bond with her tractor. That was a close call, and my advice to you is not to buy your wife a tractor. Better stick with a drain cleaner attachment for the vacuum sweeper. RULE #5. Pay for tractors with a cashier's check, postal money order, or cash, which leave far less evidence than checks drawn on a family account. Once you have gotten possession of a tractor and paid for it, eat the stubs, carbon copies, or receipts immediately. Such things have a way of becoming an embarrassment later, take it from me. Some collectors like to point out to skeptical marriage partners that what with interest rates so low these days, buying old tractors is actually an investment, a way of being sure the spouse will be "taken care of and comfortable should something .... something terrible happen." Doesn't work with Lovely Linda. She thinks Allis Chalmers WCs are the "something terrible". RULE #6. Now and then buy a wreck "for parts," even if you don't need the parts, even is there are no salvageable parts. In fact, you might want to consider hauling home a wreck or two whenever you haul home a good machine - if possible, on the same trailer or truck. This is called "liability averaging." If your spouse says something about it being strange that you have money for yet another tractor but not enough for a new refrigerator, point indignantly to the tractors on the trailer - the beautiful one on steel and in running condition for which you paid $1,600 and the two rusted hulks you got for $50 each - and you huff (or whine, depending on what has worked in the past), "Snookums, I got those for a little more than $500 each and the one in the back is easily worth $2,000 just as it stands, a tidy profit of $400, more than four times what I paid for the other two." See? Doesn't that make you sound like an investment wizard? some collectors find it effective to add something like, "it's pretty hard to find a good refrigerator for $500!" but it has been my experience that a smart-aleck attitude can fairly directly lead to the purchase of a $500 refrigerator. RULE #7. When things get critical in the household, you might consider dragging home a tractor without a transmission or rear wheels. If there is a complaint, you say something like, "Tractor? What tractor? That's not a tractor! That's only a front end. Not even close to a tractor." Then a couple weeks later bring home a rear end, minus the radiator, engine, and front wheels. "What tractor?" you say. "That's no tractor! That's only a rear end. Not even close to a tractor." Don't try this, however, more than once every couple years. RULE #8. Have an implement dealer or friend call you now and then when you're not at home and tell your spouse, "Rog told me to keep an eye on the Allis WC going at the auction up at Centerville Saturday, but it sold for $1,200 and I know there's no way a financially cautious and responsible guy like Rog would pay that much so I didn't even make a bid on it for him." Not only will this make you look real good, the next time you do buy a tractor, say something like, "Lovie-bear, this beauty only cost me $300, which means we're $900 ahead of where we'd have been if I'd gotten the one at Centerville. If I keep saving money like this, we'll be able to go on a Caribbean cruise next winter." If you say it fast enough, it might work. RULE #9. If your mate insults your tractor work by referring to it as "rustoration" or "tinkering", laugh a light-hearted laugh that makes it clear that tractors are not to you what shoes are to Imelda Marcos. RULE #10. In the event that your situation deteriorates to the point where your mate asks, "Who do you love more, me or your blasted tractors?" whatever you do, don't ask for time to think it over. Notes: The above suggestions are not dishonest or deceptive, exactly. They are ways to make life easier for your spouse. In fact, now that I think about it, these little acts of diplomacy are actually a kindness, a way to smooth the road for someone you love. Following Roger's Rules is a way of being a better person. People who follow Roger's Rules are good people. In fact, I feel so good about myself, I think I'll go out and buy myself another tractor! It'll be a good investment. I'll have it hauled in at night. That way I won't bother Linda.
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