How I love you, old steam engine! For many years I have been your slave from Illinois to the Pan Handle on through the Dakotas and to Moose Jaw. I have been your slave, steam engine, through the golden fields of grain in the wheat belt from end to end. A firing coal in the South to firing straw in the North and from four o'clock in the morning until late at night seven days a week, you black monster, I was your faithful slave.
In the late 20's far out in the horizon we could see the gas tractor and the combine approaching like a storm of grasshoppers and they wiped us out. For some twenty years, the steam thresher sat in the fence corners and rusted while we old engineers looked on and wept. We thought the old steam threshers would disappear like the American Hobo and the gypsy, but many of the good old threshers survived the junk dealers. Then, in the 50's the steam shows started up over the country. It was in '50 that I, the flying Engineer, flying in from North Dakota, stopped off at Pontiac, Illinois to take in a steam show. While there enjoying the steam engines, I overheard the conversation that they were going to start a steam show at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, the next day. So, I took off into the blue and landed at Mt. Pleasant twenty-seven years ago to witness the beginning of the greatest steam show on earth started by the Mt. Pleasant great statesmen. Yes, the first show was small, but the years since have made it the greatest, and for twenty-seven years I have flown here to make those old steamers huff and puff and bring back the memories of days gone by, to demonstrate to all our visitors at Mt. Pleasant.
In those many years I have made scores of friends from the four corners at Midwest Old Settlers Reunion and every year for twenty-seven years, come August and September, I get the yearning to come home, 25 I call it, to the Midwest Old Settlers to once more greet all my friends.
In the past twenty-seven years many have signed the Golden Book and left for that beautiful Isle of Somewhere. I trust they are looking back on us awaiting our homecoming.
When the reunion is over, one hates to leave for another year, and I am quite sure everyone that makes this great show feels the same as I do. So, lets make the 28th reunion the greatest one ever, for the food is great and the hospitality greater.
As Ever, Your Friend, The Flying Engineer
E. R. Dugan, Waterloo, Illinois (A Midwest Old Settlers Booster)
(I am a life member of Silver Wings with 37 years of flying and some 10,000 hours of flying time. I also am an old C-Ber.)