Farm & Ranch Living
A retiring minister was delighted by this thoughtful (if unusual) gift.
Readers sing the praises of a McCormick 100 manure spreader and a Ford NAA.
After 47 years of ministering at a congregation in Tyro, Kansas, my wife, Kathy, and I were ready to pursue other opportunities. As we completed our service, we asked the Lord to direct our path.
A few years before, I had been given a McCormick 200 manure spreader to restore and add to my International Harvester collection. After a total rebuild, I began taking it to parades—but in a weak moment I sold it. I regretted the decision immediately and began to search for the much smaller 100, but I couldn’t get anyone to let go of theirs. I was visiting with some friends after church one night and the subject of my search came up. I reasoned that the 100 would be easier to haul than a 200, and it would look better behind the Farmall B that I’d restored.
Unbeknownst to me, one of the guys took note. After searching online, he found one in Coxs Creek, Kentucky, about 40 miles from Louisville. He and a friend made the 25½-hour round trip to pick it up, then mobilized 11 families to take part in the purchase and restoration. Starting in April 2016, the spreader moved from house to house for each stage of the rebuild. They were able to keep it completely quiet—I never suspected a thing, even though I visited some of their houses during that time. I can’t tell you all the people from outside our church who also jumped in to help. They took the spreader apart, sandblasted it, replaced parts, painted, and added a new floor of finished yellow pine, new tires and decals.
For the reveal, the group had planned a cookout after church. They knew my wife and I almost always joined, so they seemed surprised when we said we had family coming in and would not be able to attend. About an hour later came a knock on our door. When we stepped outside, some 30 people were there to greet us. It was dark, so we didn’t see the men pushing the spreader up onto our driveway, until suddenly it came into view.
I was flabbergasted at the sight of this beautifully restored McCormick 100 and overwhelmed by the idea of all of these people coming together to give us this gift. They’d even made a scrapbook to document the process, from the Kentucky trip to the final touches.
As long as I own this spreader, for the rest of my life, not one pitchfork of manure will find its way into the box. It will only be for parades and for stories of friends who go the second mile to make an old preacher happy.