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Country Echoes

By MAE BABER, R.D.2, Brandon, Wisconsin

How much there is to look forward to on every spring day! If we have been busy in the fall with bulbs and trowel for digging, now we surely have our reward. There is something about the bravery of a crocus in the spring as it flaunts its color in the crisp air to make one feel a bit of the pioneer. Perhaps it was in this mood that I wrote the following:

HERALDS OF SPRING

In spectral wonder greying wings
arise,
With feathered animation filling skies
Yet reminiscent of the wintry chill
Which bandied vagrant snowdrifts at
its will.

Unhurried, robins harmonize with
zest -
Unworried by the building of a nest.
More necessary now to ring out clear
The singing, clarion call that spring
is here.

For overhead the sky is clearer blue
Than ever autumn days had access to;
These Honking Heralds have no bet
ter place
To fling their message than in vibrant
space.

A tulip lifts her head as if to hide -
Then, to a sleeping neighbor at her
side
Confides in dulcet tones with
strengthened will,
'Dame Crocus' Golden Chalice lines
the rill,
Awake! The stream is flowing. Hills
once brown
Are soon to don a rippling, emerald
gown.
Our blooms are needed - we must
fling them high.
Rejoice! The Heralds of Spring are
in the sky!'

So it would seem that we also might have work to do as spring again breaks upon us. In a world sick with so many headaches of man's own making couldn't we well take inventory of what each of us individually is doing to make this world a better place in which to live? Making our homes bright and clean for our families is a challenge to each Homemaker. Yes, I capitalized it for those of you who may be discouraged at the seemingly hopeless thought of ever finishing the task. I'm afraid it just never does get finished. Eterity is the only place there isn't dirt and dust.

Just working in our respective churches, holding our beliefs high, remaining cheerful, teaching our children right, all of these are vital in your particular place.

As for myself I am swinging into spring with a new aim and project. I am going to have published my first volume of poetry if plans go as they now stand. How many hundreds to have done is rather a puzzle. We are planning well over a hundred poems for inclusion in the book. It will bear the title 'Country Echoes from Edgewood Acres' to sort of follow the line of the column. There will be Kitchen Echoes, Echoes of The Past, Winter Echoes Shut Us In, Love's Echoes Sing Through The Years, and so on. When the great day comes and I hold it in my hand I will be hoping that you are interested. One hears now and then that the interest in poetry is increasing and well it might. The materialism of this age is quite appalling. Let's fling our tulips of thought to the winds of better living in the spring of 1961.

ENGLISH RALLIES AS SEEN BY AN AMERICAN

By MRS. LEROY (LUCILE) BLAKER, Alvordton, Ohio

About a year ago we had an interesting letter from a gentleman in England, who had read about our National Threshers Association in the Model Engineer published in England. Mr. J. A. Figgins of Southhampton, England, sent us also many interesting photographs of several of the engines they display at their Rallies, the name they give to the gatherings of their steam engine enthusiasts. And immense gatherings they are indeed, as he has recently sent us word of 'Woburn Park Traction Engine Rally' held over the Bank Holiday Weekend, July 30-Aug. 1, on the Duke of Bedford's lovely estate, with 81 engines arriving although the programme listed but 74, and an attendance of 62,000.

It would seem from their small magazine 'Steaming' that enthusiasm runs as high in staid old England for gatherings, rallies, reunions, stampedes, rodeos, whatever name they are given, as it does here. Listing the rallies in the magazine we find 'The Appleford Rally', with 2500-3000 coming to the Bridge Farm; 'Skegness Rally', with 29 engines entered; 'The Thornaby Rally', held in the center of the Thornaby Aerodrome; 'The Andover Rally', with 25 steam engines in the grand parade; 'The Great Yorkshire Rally', held on Whit Monday; 'The Lincolnshire Rally'; 'The Wimbish Rally'; 'The Woodton Rally', with 30 engines. And I know that this list is not complete, as they held over 25 rallies.

When I went to England last August, I had hoped that I might meet Mr. Figgins, and wrote him to that effect. He very kindly invited me to attend a steam engine rally at Cranborne, Dorset, and said he would be pleased to arrange seats for me and my party in the train from London, Sept. 3. Unfortunately we were scheduled to travel to Cologne from Amsterdam that very day, so I could only study the map and wish that I might attend an English Rally. I took with me the addresses of Mr. M. Carroll, Dublin, Ireland, who wrote that steam traction engines were very rare in Ireland now, but he collects photographs and wished to have some American photos; Mr. J. A. Abram, of Middlesex, England, who also wishes photos of American engines; Mr. G. T. Mitchell, of Kent, England; Mr. A. Pike, Lincolnshire, England, who is endeavoring to build a 90 HP uniflow Baker model, without much success, and who would be so grateful for pictures 'dead in front, behind, and broadside' of a Baker. We have also had correspondence with Mr. John A. Walker of South Canterbury, New Zealand. I think it is interesting to see how interest in a hobby unites people with all sorts of different backgrounds and occupations. I had thought of trying to phone some of these good steam engine guys, but realizing how difficult I found it to understand some of them, even face to face, I decided that a phone call might be difficult, to say the least as I understand German almost as well as their English.

Since returning home we have received a good many photos of engines 'Over There', and we plan to mount them to display in our Picture Gallery at the National Threshers Reunion at Montpelier, Ohio, June 22,23,24. If time can be arranged, I would be pleased to show the many colored slides I brought back from my six week trip, although unfortunately not one of them includes a traction STEAM ENGINE!