27809 East State Rt. T Archie, Missouri 64725
while cleaning out my desk I came across these two pictures and decided to write the story behind them.
These were taken in western Missouri near a little town called Adrian. We were in the middle of a drought and the temperature was around 100 degrees. We had a very wet spring so the wheat, we thought, had turned out pretty well. The rig pulled in around noon and consisted of a 25 HP Russell traction engine and a McCormick-Deering separator with a water wagon. The crew was made up of 13 men and three boys. We hauled the bundles in on a model 'A' and dumped the wheat in a John Deere wagon. Really, this was a pretty common set-up in its day, but as Paul Harvey would say, 'Now the rest of the story!'
It I asked you to tell me what is different about these pictures I am sure some of you would study and study and maybe find something wrong with the way the engine is set, or the separator is pointed in the wrong direction, or the belt is too tight, or the belt is too loose, but in all reality, there isn't a thing wrong with the machinery, the difference is in the people that are in the pictures. No, it isn't the way they are dressed, how they are standing, or even where they are standing. It is how they acted when these pictures were taken.
In those days, people cared for one another, there wasn't any welfare because your neighbor would take care of you. Everyone knew what a hard day's work was, and when the kids were out of school they worked right along side their parents. God was still Number One in their lives and they still practiced the Golden Rule. No one was in a big hurry and took pride in everything they did. But most of all, we cared for one another, no matter what happened we were always friends, where together no problem could become too much that as a 'crew' we couldn't overcome.
To some those days are gone forever. To others all they have left are their memories of that time. For me, I look toward the future.
These pictures are not 70 years old, they are not even 10 years old. The hot July day these were taken was in 1995. But there isn't any difference between these and the ones that are 70 years or more old. We don't try to preserve the past but to live it for the future. If we forget the feelings and the way people treated one another when the old pictures were taken our future is in trouble. We need to restore more than the old machines, we also need to restore the way people treated one another. An old steamer may bring back a smile or a memory, but a kind word may bring back hope for a time that now all is nothing but a memory. We an the Western Missouri Antique Association want to invite you to help us live the past, not to try to act it out, but to feel the way our grandfathers felt so that we might start to care for our fellow man once again. Come visit us the last full weekend in July in Adrian, Missouri, and live the past with us, because if we can't return to the past, we have no future!