First Things: Making Our Season Bright

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The trappings of the holidays are all around us. Carols on the radio, decorations seemingly everywhere, cards in the mail ... it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! But even if the horizon were as gray as gunmetal, our spirits here at Farm Collector would be bright. Why? Simple: It's the enthusiasm collectors of antique farm equipment bring to their hobby.

Where else could we find such a galaxy of friendly, helpful, and yes, ornery individuals bonded by a common interest? You are a far-flung lot, but you're all singing the same song. From California to Pennsylvania, Florida to Oregon, and at points literally everywhere in between, we've met warm, down-to-earth, great folks at shows, reunions and auctions. We've been sworn in as honorary OFES (members of the Oil Field Engine Society), participated in contests at your shows, and asked a million questions about your collectible treasures, and never run into a grump.

Our experience is far from unique. A letter to the editor in this issue of Farm Collector recounts a bend-over-backward example of the best qualities this hobby has to offer: acts of kindness by somebody who didn't have to go the extra mile, who didn't have to go to that much trouble, but did so, and happily.

That neighborly spirit surfaced quickly in two tragedies at shows in the past couple of years: the tornado that put the 2000 show at Xenia, Ohio on hold, and the explosion in August at Medina, Ohio. Donations of labor, materials, and cash flowed like a river to support clubs and families. Then, following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., you did it again: Clubs and groups all over the country donated funds from their treasuries to the relief effort and victim assistance.

This is not to say you're not also ornery and devious. We've heard you plotting how to camouflage the newest addition to an already swelling engine collection, so as not to arouse your wife's suspicions ... we've seen you pull practical jokes on your buddies ... we've seen your, uh, interesting creations (a half-green/half-orange tractor comes to mind) and we've laughed 'til it hurt. Thanks for being such great people, and for making our spirits bright! FC