Cigars and Farm Trucks Don’t Mix

Most of my stories on farm trucks are about “Old Brown“, the 1977 Ford farm truck that never died…just had its parts replaced, one piece at a time.  Today’s tale also includes a bonus segment on one of Old Brown’s companions in the shed.

One fine day, Dad’s errand list included a trip to the implement dealer for some parts. “Going for parts” always included coffee, a chat with the sales people, and conversation with the other farmers that came in for parts. While Dad was enjoying his conversation, someone rushed in and exclaimed “Your truck is on fire!”

Did I mention Dad liked to smoke cigars?

Everyone ran to the parking lot and sure enough, Old Brown was filled with smoke. Someone followed the group with a fire extinguisher, the door was opened and the smoldering flame put out.

When the smoke cleared (pun intended), a quick look quickly revealed the culprit. Some old rags on the floor must have ignited due to cigar ashes and melted a vent tube below the dash board. I do not remember if this particular part ever got replaced.

I do remember that Dad had always been fairly careful with cigar ashes in the pickup and after that, he was diligent in removing rags and other stuff from the floor too.

Bonus: Who Put That Toilet Seat In Here?

Old Brown wasn’t the only truck on the farm. The Red Truck (obviously we were not a creative family when it came to naming vehicles) was large and had a big wooden box on back that could lift with a hydraulic cylinder to dump grain.  If a set of wooden extensions was fastened around the sides, the box was high enough to haul livestock. It was not used often but was called into service for big jobs.

The seat in this monstrosity was made up of springs and foam and covered with black vinyl. Over time, the vinyl had developed some rips and tears and the foam peeked through. You do remember the cigars, right?

My sisters I and conferred about what happened next and they remember it better than me. Of course, I am the oldest sister…

You might recognize the sequence of events. Smoke was spotted and the door opened. This time, it was a bucket of water instead of a fire extinguisher that put out the fire. When we got a chance to check out the carnage there was a big hole in the seat. A hole located between where a driver’s legs would be; right where cigar ashes might fall.

I am quite certain that Dad lived with this hole in the seat for a while. He filled it with rags most of the time. At some point, he walked out to his truck to find that someone had installed a toilet seat on top of the hole.

He cut some foam to fit the hole and installed a seat cover after that.

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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