Ted Kalvitis - Far Muse

“Dora’s dunking donuts — they are the rave of the land … we’ll have you know they float.”

This little ditty from the 1933 Shirley Temple movie comes to mind whenever I pass Dunkin’ Donuts or use their parking lot as a turnaround. I never go in.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, the Old Hippie and I gave Dunkin’ Donuts a try. Edward A Nichols of Newfields, N.H., took us to lunch there.

No, we’re not in the old Live Free or Die state nor is Mr. Nichols in Winchester. We must have missed the rush since there was no one seated in the lobby. The drive-through, though, was running constant so that the crew was pacing fast to keep up with the demand at the window.

One young lady was finally able to break free and take our order. She was patient and sweet despite our hemming and hawing having never ordered at Dunkin’ Donuts before.

By the way, they serve only breakfast from 5 a.m. to 11 at night in the lobby. The drive-through runs 24 hours.

They apparently do a thriving business with Winchester’s many shift workers. The hospital alone represents an impressive potential clientele. Then there are the construction workers during their pre-dawn commute.

There’s also the cops and their antithetical stoners with the munchies.

I don’t see Dunkin’ Donuts becoming a part of our routine. We’re just not part of that vibrant nocturnal current of humanity that would normally frequent this sugar-and-caffeine filling station. We’ll probably be done with them when the gift card that Edward Nichols sent us runs out.

The reader may recall — though not likely — that Edward Nichols helped inspire, the story “Abbrev. Inop.” in the July 24 Hampshire Review. He sent me a letter asking for clarification regarding the procedure for ordering surplus unpublished 35mm photos from my tractor repair route.

It seems that some of the language in my advertisement — particularly the abbreviation SASE — has become obsolete since I first started running the ad about 12 years ago in Antique Power and Vintage Truck.

The article went on to discuss how some abbreviations had gone out of use in advertising in merely one generation. Remember RAD/HTR for “radio and heater” in a used car newspaper ad? How about LSMFT?

Reader Jeff Light of Winchester had some suggestions as to what LSMFT might stand for. His photo orders always seem to arrive just in time to rescue beer-thirty on a short pay week.

He really doesn’t have to order photos to keep the postal thing going. I always enjoy his letters that accompany his photo orders.

Some of Jeff’s material is a little too earthy for publication, but I understand. For example, in certain rural settings, if you see a pile of … well, something or other, that’s what you call it. (Let the reader use discernment and horse sense.)

Jeff favors Massey Ferguson tractors and misses the old farm at Gore.

Tell me about it — like I miss the 170-acre New Jersey farm. Growing produce and putting it on a train for a straight shot to the New York City market and harbors must have made too much sense to withstand “progress.” It seems that good things always get tweaked to death.

In one letter, Jeff relates the story of his dad driving an old Oliver tractor from Berryville to Hayfield during the winter of 1957. I’m not sure whether I remember the winter of ’57, though I do have specific memories from that year. However, I do remember ’58, ’59, ’60 and so on.

That was some serious cold back then. Of course, his mention of old Olivers got my memory going. I related back how we would load the Oliver tractors onto the big apple truck at Whitham Orchard for the trip to Dunlap’s, the Oliver dealer in Winchester.

The loading dock was built into the high road bank in a right-angle curve at the intersection of Virginia Route 610 and the “Falls” road. This dock was apparently built when traffic along this road was of little consequence as loading a tractor blocked traffic in 3 directions.

In more recent times, it took 3 men to load a tractor; One to sit in the truck and hold the brake, one to drive the tractor onto the truck and one to run up and down the road apologizing and trying to quell rioting.

I would like to come back to Edward Nichols’ letter for a moment. I sent him his proposed order of 25 photos with the customary hand-written captions free of charge since his first letter inspired “Abbrev. Inopt.

I also sent him a clipping of Abbrev. Inop. from the Review. Mr. Nichols gave a live reading of Abbrev. Inop. at a sizable family gathering. Live readings scare me to death. Though he reported that Abbrev. Inop. was a hit with his audience, I’m still glad that it was 6 states away.

Mitchell Daly Jr. of Baldwin, Md., writes in reference to “A Textbook For Old Farm Equipment ‘Experts,’” as the article appears in Antique Power September-October issue and the Oct. 10 issue of the Hampshire Review.

He has collected all 28 volumes of John Deere’s vo-ag textbook “Operation, Care and Repair of Farm Machinery,” which I describe in the article.

He offered to bring the entire collection to a place somewhere midway between our homes for us to look over.

Sounds interesting, but I’m usually looking for something specific and it would be difficult to align the “time frame” (I despise that phrase) with Antique Power’s “news cycle” (There’s another one).

Daly’s research suggests the first edition to have come out in 1926-27 and shows horses and mules as the pulling power in front of John Deere implements as often as it shows the unstyled Model D.

Jim Swan of Springfield, Mo., actually used volume 28 in high school. He later found the 5th and 16th editions at yard sales. Volume 5, presumed to be from 1933, shows the Model GP in addition to the D.

A consensus between the 2 letters pretty much nails volume 28 as the last. Swan, who ought to know, having actually studied it in school, says that the last volume was published in 1957.

Therefore, John Deere must have discontinued the program just prior to the disastrous release of the infamous model 2010. With apologies to Tim Reid of Augusta, who is possibly the world’s only satified 2010 owner, it was probably for the best.

It’s been a few years since I’ve received one of those lengthy, rambling penciled letters from Roswell, N.M. The mother ship must have finally arrived.

Never a day goes by that we don’t learn something if we’re paying attention. I now know a little more John Deere history and where to go for great coffee and donuts until the gift card runs out — and maybe then some. 

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