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COUNTRY ECHOES

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First things are going to be first this time. When our dear Steam Brother Elmer Ritzman was still with us he wrote me telling that he was happy with the way I ended my columns with a spiritual note. This time I know he would also be happy to see my lead.

Such great things have been happening here in Wisconsin, they deserve first place. For while steam events are great, they are, perhaps, only temporary. We, in this area, are seeing human beings completely changed. What a tremendous thrill! These things came about as God worked through very ordinary people farmers, housewives, truckers, business persons, teachers, etc.

In the Sept.-Oct. Column I mentioned the Bill Glass Crusade being held here, and the soul-satisfying experience it was. It was certainly a boost to a movement which had already started. The preparation rallies were so helpful as we looked up Scripture after Scripture and unitedly prayed.

And as the young people began to respond (yes, there were older people too in fact, whole families) a heartening thing happened. One H. S. age boy, who was on drugs, was saved and delivered. He began bringing his friends night after night. Others responded and now instead of drug traffic in these lives there are prayer meetings.

One couple, (themselves the parents of teenagers and a younger daughter) have opened their home for prayer meetings for these new converts. They keep coming, and bringing others. One summer evening there were 56 in that house. 'Wall to wall kids,' is what they commented, laughing joyously.

But this is not all. These young people are so enthusiastic and full of joy, several of them go to other prayer meetings as well, some three or four nights a week. And they have been telling of what God has done for them over our local radio station. And they, of course, are telling others as well.

As I write this the school year is just beginning and the plans are to meet for prayer and Bible Study in the School Commons during break. How happy we are, especially those of us who have been meeting for prayer every week, and praying that such a thing might happen. We know we were joined by many others in the quiet of their homes.

But we take no credit for the actual change. This is a super-natural moving of God's Holy Spirit. We are humbly thankful that God has given us the desire of our hearts. When mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers unitedly claim God's promises, and pray, God will never let us down.

August brought most of our family home to us all but three, a son, a daughter-in-law and one grandchild from California. The other girl, Gail, flew in. There were anywhere from six to twenty-one for meals for twelve days. Mr. B. and myself made several trips to the Milwaukee Airport, and even one all the way to O'Hare at Chicago.

There were eight grandchildren in our house at one time. This had never happened before. What a time of rejoicing! The overflow slept at the farm, but were often here to eat. We cleaned up a $20.00 ham at two sittings.

Just last week we travelled to Sussex for their Steam Reunion. Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Rankin had kindly sent us complimentary tickets. For this we thank them. Mr. Rankin was there and we talked to him briefly. We'd been blessed with much rain the day before. The grounds were wet, and it was hot and humid.

The first man we met was Howard Schmidt of Oak Creek. When he learned where we were from, it developed that he had worked around here on road construction in his youth. In fact, my husband and he had worked for the same man. Familiar names were recalled.

Next in line was Jack Hoag of Racine who had the cutest little steam calliope one can imagine. (I mentally compared it with the one I had read about in the last Iron Men Album, that real large one. And, by the way. I thought the last issue was GREAT.) This calliope consisted of a tiny copper drum with pins protruding from it, and these activated the 15 miniature steam whistles. The pins are mounted on a sheet of copper, this is then rolled into a drum that turns. Mr. Hoag can make additional drums for other tunes, should he wish.

He needs 50 lbs. of steam in the boiler for his machine, and 15 lbs. in the whistle area. It used 2 lbs. of coal an hour and 3 gallons of water to operate.

An elderly gentleman, Jack Miller, of Brookfield, was displaying the wood-turning art of his brother, Lester, who lives in Buffalo, N.Y. There was a cannister set, paper towel holder, candlesticks, and a fruit bowl. These were of various kinds of wood, all neatly glued together, turned out and finished. Beautiful! Jack was turning out some wooden balls, all identical in size.

Clarence Mirk of Wauwatosa had his miniature Reeves Steamer and Yellow Fellow Thresher running smoothly. How neat!

Pearl and Lucy Seering of New Berlin had a lovely display of their dolls, and sun bonnets this mother and daughter had made. The rest of the day my husband kept pointing out 'that red-bonneted woman' as his wife.

Pat Mullacky of Milwaukee stopped to chat. This Irishman was helping Ray Klinger. I believe he said he owned a 25-75 H.P. Case. I hope I have that right.

Bill Slack, the V.Pr. of the Sussex Club told me of his 6 tractors on his 6 acres. Unique, right? He does a little farming in as old-fashioned a way as he can. He called for the Pres. via the P.A. system.

Gary Peglow met me in the green and white tent. He informed me that the Sussex Club has 215 members. This was their 17th show. Glen Harmon was the founder and first president. They have many young people involved, including two of Mr. Peglow's sons. Their wives are most helpful as well.

They display 150 gas tractors, 7 or 8 steam engines. Safety is stressed at their gatherings. The oldest member is 92. Conrad Stark is the father of Bill, their V. Pres.

Next I learned from a maker of horseshoes how individual horses are to fit with shoes. Michael Klipstein of West Allis told me horses can be pigeon-toed, and sometimes they have horizontal, toe, and quarter cracks in their hooves. They are even afflicted with corns and their feet have to be padded before they are shoed.

As we left the grounds the Threshing Queen, Marie Wilson of Waukesha and the Fairest of the Fair, Sue Frank, were having a Steam Engine Ride around the grounds.

What an exciting summer it has been! And to think that the best is yet to be on the other side! So long for now.