There’s a mystical place in upstate New York folks call the Fingeronkill Triangle. It is roughly outlined by Interstates I80, I88 and I90. It is hemmed in between the Finger Lakes Region on the west, The Adirondack Mountains to the northeast and the Catskills to the southeast and thus, the name Fingeronkill Triangle. At the points of the triangle are Syracuse, Albany and Binghamton.
Like its famous sister, the Bermuda Triangle, there is a lot of myth attached to the Fingeronkill. It’s said that entire towns have disappeared within it and others have simply failed to change, failed to succumb to the things that have rushed over the rest of the country. One such little town is Oxford.
Legend has it that this time warp, this portal to the year 1952 was caused by the last heinous act to ever occur in Oxford. In that year, on a cloud-covered December night thieves stole the brand new Massey Harris Pony tractor that had been a Christmas gift to 13-year-old Ginny McCumber. Ginny lived outside of Oxford on a small farm, but in this close-knit community it wasn’t long before the entire town knew of the little girl’s plight and her devastating loss. It was in church the Sunday after the theft that Ginny knelt in her pew and asked God not to let her town change, not to let it fall prey to change and the attendant decline of humanity that comes with it. And that was it. Very little changed in Oxford after that. Not to leave you too depressed about poor Ginny, her dad had a super-duper Farm-owners insurance policy, and the next spring saw Ginny on her Pony plowing and planting up a storm.
But the upshot of that 1952 event is the still pleasant little town of Oxford that has held its own against the tides of change. The town is filled with beautiful, old homes and quaint shops. The pharmacist at Bartle’s knows his customers by first name and at Canal Street Hardware you don’t just buy something, you get plenty of advice to go along with it. The mailmen in Oxford don’t have to look at the addresses on the envelopes, because they know you and they know where you live (well that’s a little creepy). They still have a community band and this month the local high school has been putting on that unforgettable classic, “Princess Tilly of Klutzenstein.” Hmmm, any relation to my Princess?
Last week they had a program at the local historical museum entitled, “What the Heck Is it?” They have trap shooting every Thursday and amazingly, you can still catch fish in the rivers and streams around Oxford. But of course, it’s the people of Oxford who are concerned, enthusiastic and involved that make the difference. Practically the whole town gets together at Christmastime to make “Community Gift Baskets,” and the local scout troop sings carols at the veterans home.
Now if you think I’ve been laying it on a little thick and that I’m making all this stuff up (as I’ve been known to do) you’d be wrong. Well ok, I made up the part about little Ginny. Oh, that stuff about the Fingeronkill Triangle, BS. But all the rest of this I got straight off the town’s website. But I’ve left the best part for you tractor lovers for last.
Out on Race Road in Oxford there’s a small business called Kuhn’s Equipment Repair. Bob and Carol Kuhn have owned and run this business for 13 years. Bob got his first tractor a year later than Ginny (she was big for her age), at 14 and he’s been restoring tractors for 30 years. If you’re lucky enough to live around Oxford, well you’ve got it made. You can just dump your tractor at Kuhn’s and Bob Kuhn will make all your tractor worries disappear. The folks at Kuhn’s are like most from around here, so they’re friendly, helpful and do their best for you. This fall they had an open house with food and music, contests for kids, cotton candy, the whole shebang. 150 people showed up. But if like me you don’t live around Oxford and you gotta do your own tractor work, then you need the next best thing, ah person, at Kuhn’s and that’s Maggie Simpson, Parts Detective.
This part is no baloney. There’s two ways you can go about finding parts. You can search ton’s of parts web sites, Craig’s list, Ebay you name it, maybe find what you want, maybe not, and waste a lot of time and maybe not even get the best deal. Or, you can call Maggie or Carol at Kuhn’s, tell them what you need, and because they’ve done this thousands of times compared to your once, they can get just what you need, get it fast and get you a good price. This may sound like shameless advertising, but I have been so impressed with Kuhn’s that I wanted everyone to know about them.
I’ve started a new links page, so look for a tab called LINKS at the top of the home page, www.thatidiotictractor.com. If you click on that, there’s a link that will hook you right in to Kuhn’s.
So all this experience with Kuhn’s did not come without a price and a resulting nudge up on the Pony’s Cost-O-Meter. After ordering piston rings and a full engine gasket and seal set we’re now up to $744. Now I’m going to have to calm The Princess down and ask her what’s up with this Princess Tilly. I’m pretty sure she’s not gonna like hearing about someone else horning-in on the Princess trade. Wish me luck and thanks for reading.