SOOT IN THE FLUES

Anna Mae

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Well, here it is deadline time for this bit of chatter and the children are off to school and here in the quiet of the morning I should be able to think - and my mind is a blank, I have nothing to say - and I can just hear the men say 'Oh Yeah!'.

It seems I'm a victim of mixed emotions again, for only a week ago (is that all - it seems ages) we took our eldest offspring bag and baggage off to the life of the campus at East Stroudsburg - and so, mixed emotions, proud and happy for him that he can go, glad that we still live in a country where people are allowed to go to college, regardless of their social standards - and a little melancholy that the childhood is past - but looking forward to the future feeling confident that the 18 years we were blessed with him at home, have helped in some way to mold the character of another useful, Christian citizen of the U.S., who I'm sure will mark some important footsteps in the sands of time.?

I expect anytime to see my wonderful boss-man, Elmer Ritzman, to come rolling in from the Reunions. He's been away over three weeks now and will soon be back satisfied with another summer of steam-talk-engines-threshers-etc. This will help to keep him occupied over the winter months remembering the events of the past few months.

The only Reunion I was able to attend was at Williams Grove where they held their 3rd Reunion and it was a fine one. That organization is growing with leaps and bounds. They had a nice show and many engines, and displays of days gone by - well worth seeing - especially to the old-timers. I imagine the old-fashioned kitchen and living room made them feel a little homesick for the good ol' days' (although I'll bet not for long, for I doubt if many would want to give up the modern conveniences we now have, to be truthful though, I think we are all spoiled). There will be a full report on this reunion either in this issue or the next. Although Elmer was traveling and I was busy in the office at Enola, we were well represented at Williams Grove this year with an IRON MEN ALBUM stand operated by my brother, Dan Keeley. Nothing like trying to get the whole family interested, is there? He'd never been around the engines before, but tells me he enjoyed it, and at the same time he was doing us a service-so thanks Danny. They had pretty nice weather, but two days it rained, and poured, but they were under a tent but nobody knew it was just a sunshine tent, and it kept the water out the same way a sieve would. It was funny, the rain poured right through the tent and the people were standing under the tent with umbrellas and running hither and yon trying to protect the merchandise. I happened to be there that day. I finally gave up, sat down on a chair and just let it rain. Of course, I looked like a 'drowned rat' but that's one of the not so pleasant events of a Reunion or to say it more plainly it was sorta 'soot in the flues.'

Do you realize this is the Nov. Dec. issue, the Christmas issue? No, I'm not kidding, it really is. Only 105 more days till Christmas, and the way this fast moving world moves, you'll have to do your Christmas shopping early for if you wait too long, come Christmas you won't be able to buy anything but summer articles! Well, it almost seems that way, doesn't it? Our Jan.-Feb. issue does come out the first of Dec. though, so maybe this is really the Christmas issue, but this is Nov.-Dec. number so may I be the first to wish you all a Blessed Christmas-and let's really make it that! We are so blessed and should be so thankful for all our good fortunes. Are you grateful enough? Am I grateful enough? I don't think so. We mean to be, but I think we take too much for granted. Like so many things in this world, we fool so much with the preliminaries and the details of Christmas that we miss the real point. Let's make a special effort this year to slow up a little and think of the true meaning and put forth our efforts in the right direction. Let's really help someone someone who needs help. Let's make someone happy who has been less fortunate than ourselves. Let's stop worrying about how much we should or shouldn't send Aunt Mert and Uncle Clem, probably ending up getting them something they don't need anyhow, or want! I often think- wouldn't it be nice to take all the money for ! the gifts and outfit an underprivileged child, and tell each person you were going to get a gift what you did with it, in their name. Just a thought and I'm sure you don't all agree. Understand, I like gifts too, and I think it is nice to remember those you love, : but what I am getting at is we place too much emphasis on these things and we are too concerned with material things. We could lessen our personal gifts and take some of that money to really do some good in so many ways. And we can give ourselves, after all that is what Christmas should be, giving of ourselves. When we give love, we get love back, and when we give happiness, we get happiness. And when you do something for someone simply because you want to help, you get a wonderful feeling that you can't buy, steal or be given, it's the reward for an unselfish gesture.

Well, I better sign off - and I had nothing to say. Sorry if I seemed to preach or lecture, I just get carried away with my thoughts. I hope I can practice some of what I said. It's easier to say than to accomplish.