Washington column for July 9

‘I thank my lucky stars to be living here today’

A squadron of antique International Farmall tractors, with Old Glory flags blowing in the breeze, was poised at the end of Manly and Jackie Bruce's driveway along U.S. 211 Sunday.
A squadron of antique International Farmall tractors, with Old Glory flags blowing in the breeze, was poised at the end of Manly and Jackie Bruce’s driveway along U.S. 211 Sunday. Christie Estep

As I was driving on 211 going west toward Sperryville this Sunday (July 5), something amazing caught my eye. At the end of the driveway of Manly and Jackie Bruce’s place was a group of antique tractors decorated with Old Glory flags on them. So I had to pull into their driveway and take a closer look. Really brought back memories of farm land, our heritage and most of all our freedom. It really inspired me.

I gave Manly Bruce a call on Monday. This is his story:

Manly’s wife Jackie, he said, has been after him for some time to put some of his old antique tractors decorated with American flags down along 211 during various holidays — so he decided to, for the first time, on July 4.

These were just six of the dozen or so in his collection of International Farmall tractors. He has a number of other brands, but the Farmall is his favorite.

Manly grew up here in Rappahannock, and remembers the big red tractors more than any other make. He and his dad bought the first 1950 Farmall “H” in1964-65 in Hagerstown for $600. He still uses it on occasion, he says, because it always starts when the weather is hot or cold. They all have narrow front wheels and are called row crop, or tricycle type, or Farmalls. Those with wide front wheels are called “International” or “utility type.” His range from a 1947 “M” to a 1957 Farmall 450.

He said you could say these old tractors are retired, but none have been restored, and are known as still “wearing their working clothes.” Any of these can go back in the field to work in the morning if you can afford the fuel, he said. (The large ones can use 50-plus gallons of gasoline in a long, hard day.)

Manly said his good friend Richard Compton was the one to get him started in this hobby, and said it is Compton’s fault that he’s spent all this money on old tractors. But still Manly is looking for specific others.

He has bought tractors in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, and sometimes right under his nose here in Rappahannock County.

According to Manly sometime he and his son, Carter, will load up a couple of his tractors and head off to the antique tractor pulls, where Carter has had success.

Seeing Manly’s tractors was a fitting close to a wonderful Fourth of July weekend in Rappahannock County. The rain on Saturday evening did not put a damper on the the fireworks at Thornton Hill Race Course near Sperryville or the family gathering, grilling those hotdogs and hamburgers.

Thanks go out to Richie Burke, Gary Settle and Mike Leake for their long hours of work. A special thanks to Bill Fletcher for the use of his field and everyone else who helped with the Fourth of July celebration. Many thanks also to the law enforcement personnel. They were busy on the road this weekend.

For this July 4, it seem to me there weren’t as many Old Glory flags flying as in years past.

I love driving around and seeing American flags flapping in the breeze. So, as you fly the flag on any holidays, remember: Our country has so much to be thankful for, and it all started with our independence. As Lee Greenwood so beautifully sang, “I thank my lucky stars to be living here today, ’cause the flag still stands for freedom, and they can’t take that away.”

Manly and Jackie, thank you for such an inspiring reminder of our heritage with your Farmall antique tractors and American flags. I hope you will continue to use them for decoration on holidays to come.

In remembrance of Michael Wayland

My condolences go out to Mary and Tommy Wayland of Flint Hill on the loss of their son, Michael “Mike” Ashby Wayland, 46, of Luray. Mike passed away on Friday, July 3, in the Winchester Medical Center.

Mike grew up in Rappahannock and was was a 1987 graduate of Rappahannock County High School and owned and operated his own business, Wayland Painting and General Contracting. He was a newspaper carrier for the Rappahannock News. He was a man of honor, one that you could depend on for anything. Someone that went out of his way to make sure that our papers were delivered every Thursday. If by chance he could not make the deliver, his mom would pitch in and help. What a team they were.

Mary and Tommy, death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but always remember that love leaves a memory no one can ever take away. Someone so special as Mike was can never be forgotten. Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.

Words fall short of expressing the sorrow I am feeling for you and your family. May God’s grace give you strength during this difficult time.

The family will receive friends this Friday (July 10) from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Maddox Funeral Home, Front Royal. The funeral service follows at 2 p.m. with Sammy Campbell and the Rev. Jon Heddleston officiating. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family c/o Maddox Funeral Home, 105 West Main St., Front Royal, VA 22630.

Music at Washington Baptist

On Sunday, July 19, from 3 p.m to 4 p.m. at the Washington Baptist Church, Wendy Aichele and Angela Snyder will give a concert of organ, piano, and violin music. The first part of the program will include classical music. The second part of the program will feature familiar hymns and Swedish songs. The concert will be followed by a lemonade and iced tea social. A free will offering will be collected for the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund.

MADD meeting

MADD meets 6:30 p.m. at the Rappahannock County Library on Monday (July 13). Come and share your concerns and ideas on how to address this in our community and surrounding communities.

Remember in prayers

During your daily routine, keep Ellen Mustoe in pray for her safety. She had left for a mission trip to Eagle Butte, S.D. from July 3 to July 11.

This is her 12th year in going. Her responsibilities includes teaching the 7-years-old children in Vacation Bible School, helping to prepare breakfast each day, and being available and willing to serve in other capacities.

Stay cool and have a wonderful week.