This being the April issue of Farm
Collector, I thought it would be great fun to do a sort of
“April Fools” cover. I envisioned a photo of Britney Spears in
work-out duds at the wheel of a classic tractor, with headlines
crowing “Thinner Thighs in 30 Days!” and “Test Your Love IQ: Do You
Have What it Takes to Make the Grade?” and “Free! Easy! Thirteen
Guaranteed Ways to Save at the Mall!”
The boss, however, did not share my enthusiasm for that
approach. Accordingly, we moved in a more, uh, conventional
direction with a rock-solid photo of a vintage sawmill in action at
a show in Hemlock, N.Y. To my mind, it’s a great photo because it
captures the essence of antique farm equipment shows: volunteerism,
cooperation and concentration … apt topics, with a new show season
just a heartbeat away.
If you don’t have volunteers, your show will never get off the
ground. Shows devour volunteers. It doesn’t matter whether the show
is huge or cozy, manpower is always the most urgent need and
generally the most consistent challenge. If your volunteers are
enthusiastic, it’s as good as doubling your workforce. Visitors to
your show may marvel at the display, but if they get a chilly
reception, that’s what they tell the folks back home.
Cooperation among those troops is critical. The best volunteers
are willing to work for the greater good. They offer suggestions
and feedback, they work as a team, they don’t sabotage leadership.
There is, as the old saw goes, no limit to the good that can be
done when you don’t care who gets the credit.
Finally, concentration. This is absolutely critical in an
environment that blends thousands of curious people with massive
and potentially dangerous equipment. Every show volunteer must
focus on safety – personal safety and visitor safety – with total
concentration. Shows are typically hot, noisy, dusty and crowded.
Visitors move without looking, step without thinking. The best
volunteer keeps his eye on the ball.
April fools? No sir! Here at Farm Collector, we’re all
business … at least until this summer, when the boss takes 10 days
off. The first-ever Farm Collector Swimsuit Issue?
Probably not, but anything is possible. Stay tuned!
Leslie McManus, Editor