In 1958, a John Deere tractor's engine produced a distinctive "pop" and stutter constantly. It was running fine, but sounded as if it would sputter and die with the next gasp. My father and his brother who farmed together always used Farmall tractors from International Harvester, and I liked the confidence of the consistent roar of their engines. Both of those distinctive sounds now reside with the memories of my childhood, growing up on a cotton farm in North Louisiana.
There's a coupon on my desk waiting to be used. It will get me a free John Deere cap. The coupon came with my new John Deere LA 175 lawn mower. It's a great piece of machinery built in Greeneville, Tennessee. It isn't a full sized tractor, but it has that famous John Deere reputation and a fifty-four inch cutting deck that really comes in handy on our two-acre farm.
We live in the mountains of Western North Carolina near the base of Cold Mountain, about fifteen miles from the nearest Lowes. It just wasn't practical to drive my new LA 175 home from their store. It was a red letter day when the delivery truck pulled up in front of our recently restored 92 year old farm house. I even took a personal day off from work! The two delivery men slowly rolled the Green Monster onto the Tommy Lift and eased it down onto my driveway. Oh man! What a deal! Filled with anticipation and excitement, I carefully climbed into the gold "Comfort Cushion" seat — it was better than a Barcalounger! After adjusting the choke and depressing the brake, I gave the key a turn. Bam! First try, the Lawn Rebel roars to life.
Aaaaahhh, what an awesome sound! I drove my baby from the driveway into some grass that had been waiting for the arrival of the Deere, dried by the morning sun, and waiting to sacrifice it's overly long blades to the 54" wide tornado inside the mower deck. With a firm grasp on the "Attachment Engagement Switch," I unleashed the fury of the three factory-sharpened mower blades, the likes of which this ancient lawn had never seen! Any one of these three fearsome slicers would put the steel of a samurai's sword to shame.