As the show season comes to a close, I thought I would take this time to thank all of the people who made me feel so welcome at the shows I attended this year.
I especially want to thank Lennis Moore, Alan Buckert, C.H. Wendel and Bob Gilchrist at the Old Thresher's Reunion in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, who were so very helpful in getting us positioned and set up this year. Without their help, my visit to the Reunion wouldn't have come even close to being as useful a trip as it turned out to be. I felt like the long-lost cousin who, finally invited to the family picnic, finds that the family has forgotten that he was ever away and welcomes him back with open arms. And those old iron collectors do seem like a family, complete with its elders, its youngsters and, even, its black sheep (although I name no names).
The weather, of course, was very cooperative in Iowa this year - never topping 90 degrees - making this particular family picnic as enjoyable as it could have been. The weather led to good spirits, a great show.
As I write this, though, it's late September and the air has turned cool and crisp and the mood is much more somber. Our other extended family - the American family - is in mourning, still shocked by the loss of life inflicted by the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
It seems that even Farm Collector, a magazine as far removed from politics as one can be, cannot let this moment in history pass without some comment. But, really, what is there to say? For those of us here in the 'heartland,' many of us having no friends or family directly involved or endangered by the attacks, we have found ourselves casting about for some way to help. We have watched television and listened to the radio waiting for some niche that we could fill, some help that only we could provide from our homes lining the rural routes of agricultural America.
My suggestion: remember the feelings that are bringing this country together as a family today. Americans seem to be turning to each other in the spirit of what Lincoln called 'the better angels of our nature.' We are reminded by this tragedy that we are members of the American family, the human family. We remember that we are vulnerable. I pray that these realizations, this perspective, can last. For, whether they rebuild the WTC or erect some monument to the fallen where it once stood, I can think of no better memorial to our dead than the remembrance that we might carry with us in our own hearts.
A note: The Red Cross has said that many people have given blood in the wake of the attacks, but they will need more in the long run. To donate, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.