This is a story about a tractor that has spent much of its life on Block Island.
A good piece of equipment out here may spend many years toiling the turf, with many different owners, and be passed on — sometimes to family, friends or neighbors.
I purchased a 1967 International Cub farm tractor from Andy Transue, a local developer, many years ago. He had previously bought it from the Bill Lewis Farm. I mowed the hay, tilled the soil, and cut the brush with the old steed on Beacon Hollow Farm for almost 30 years. It was a magnificent, reliable old tractor and I cared for it well.
Never did it sit in the rain or snow.
Some few years ago, while having some excavation work done on the farm by Bain Transue, son of Andy, Bain noticed the old yellow tractor packed away in the barn.
He said, “Doc, is that my dad’s old tractor?”
“Yes, indeed,” I answered, and from there was the conversation of how he had learned to drive on it close to 30 years ago.
You see, the Transue family then lived on the farm adjacent to Beacon Hollow Farm, where Bain was raised. “What plans do you have for the old machine?” Bain asked.
I explained that I have a new John Deere with much-needed safety equipment, power steering, four wheel drive and automatic transmission. It makes my life easier.
“Would you consider selling it to me?”Bain asked.
Well, I’m not one that ever gets rid of anything. Ask my wife and look at my cluttered barns. But then it’s Bain who’s asking. Bain and I are both veterans of tough wars, different generations and different wars, but there’s a brotherhood here. We are heroes to each other, maybe to no one else, but it’s the personal connection that counts. We worked out a bartered deal and away went the tractor.
I didn’t know this at the time, but now Bain Transue’s family is moving back to the old homestead. The old yellow “Cub” is back where it started almost 30 years ago and is now with the Transue family again. It is very likely that a third generation of the Transue family will be breaking dirt and learning to drive on it soon enough.
A different day and a different captain at the helm.