A ’63 pink binder


It’s an R-185

Miss Marci, Mason Sickel's '63 pink International Harvester R185 tractor

Miss Maci, Mason Sickel's ‘63 pink International Harvester R185 tractor.

There are a lot of things one simply does not expect to see: Martians disgorging from a “flying saucer,” a pick up ice hockey game on the White House lawn, and a flying giraffe with zebra stripes. Add to that list a pink 1963 International Harvester R185 tractor parked in a barn in the middle of a soybean field in the Grand Prairie region of Arkansas. Until now. Folks, this is not a computer creation. It’s real.

Corndancer dot com

Corndancer dot com

But there’s more to see in this rural neighborhood including a still-standing one-room school built in 1921. The school has a rich history not only as a center of education, but as a community center and a place where things happened.

See the Idlewild Schoolhouse and some pumpkins on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer cot com. Click here to go there, a very cool thing to do.

The truck wasn’t originally meant to be pink, but …

When I first spotted the truck from a distance, I figured it was red and sorely in need of a paint job. Closer inspection revealed that theory wrong.

The truck now belongs to Mason Sickel of the Tollville, Arkansas community .  It originally belonged to a neighboring farmer who bought it new in 1963. “It was one of the first tractor-trailer rigs put into operation in this area,” Sickel said. “Farmers were using ‘bob-trucks’ (for the uninitiated, a ‘bob-truck,’ in this use environment, is a single axle truck with a flat bed, in the two-ton and up range), to carry their crops to elevators or mills.”

A change of plans

Sickel had coveted his neighbor’s truck for a while, but could never convince him to sell. Then the winds of fortune changed and Mason Sickel got his truck. He had owned it for more than a year when he decided to repaint in in the fire engine red common to IHC trucks of that era. Then he and his wife discovered their child-on-the-way was a little girl. That changed everything. From that moment, he decided he would honor his unborn daughter with a pink truck emblazoned with her name.

"You can hear it coming from a far piece," says one of Mason Sickels associates on his farm.

"You can hear it coming from a far piece," says one of Mason Sickels associates on his farm."The exhaust system is what you see, hooked up to a split manifold." To the non-mechanically inclined, that means there are no pesky mufflers to impede the engine's roar.

A family tradition

Mason is continuing a farming operation originated by his great-grandfather and subsequently carried on by his grandfather and father. He likes to restore old stuff. “I come by it naturally,” Sickel says. “My grandfather was a junk supreme junk collector.” Sickel then told me about one of his storage buildings that was full of stuff. He asked me to follow him to see for myself. I trailed behind his ancient doorless IHC Scout until we arrived at “the place.” He opened the door. I did not know what to expect, but should have suspected, given my experience with the truck. The building was full of pristine condition restored antique farm tractors. John Deere, Farmall, Minneapolis-Moline and Allis-Chalmers to mention a few.

Mason Sickel smiles beside his showroom new antique Farmall tractor. It is restored to perfection and is typical of the Sickel collection.

Mason Sickel smiles beside his showroom new antique Farmall tractor. It is restored to perfection and is typical of the Sickel collection. The tractor is showing a bit of storage dust in this picture, but a quick hosing and wipe down will make it shine like new money.

Mason says he will show several of his tractors and some other restored vehicles and equipment at the 33rd Annual Grand Prairie Rice Festival in Hazen, Arkansas October 24, 2009. The family-oriented event includes a parade and show of antique farm equipment, an inflatable playground for kids, bands and other entertainment. And it’s free. Mark your calendars. I bade Mason farewell and headed into the sunset so to speak. It is indeed refreshing to meet congenial people like Mason. He had never seen or heard tell of me and treated me “like comp’ny.” Thanks Mason.

A couple of weeks later,

I was through the territory again. Heading home, close to England, Arkansas, I encountered a couple of respectable thunderstorms. Thunderstorms fascinate a lot of folks and I am one of those. These put on a good show.

This is storm one, taking shape. Sometimes the clound dipping toward the horizon can form into something more serious, but not this time

This is storm one, taking shape. Sometimes the clound dipping toward the horizon can form into something more serious, but not this time

I followed the storm traveling east to west for several miles until I out ran it. There was another one ahead with a bit more oomph.

A few miles further west, storm one had begun to consolidate. This time a rice field is in the foreground.

A few miles further west, storm one had begun to consolidate. This time a rice field is in the foreground. As fascinating as these storms are, it's a good idea to give them some distance.

I turned south for home and another storm running east to west was bearing down on me. Fortunately, the storm would do nothing worse than pelt the truck with some major league rain drops.

Storm two. We were on a collision course, but a pounding rain was the worst this storm could generate. A rice field is in the foreground.

Storm two. We were on a collision course, but a pounding rain was the worst this storm could generate. A rice field is in the foreground. Just a few minutes after this shot, the truck got a good soaking.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the “Eyes and Mind
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com
http://www.joedempseycommunications.com
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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