'A Day In June' by L. K. Wood of Mendon, Utah, in your May-June issue reminded me of 'A Day in My Days' of which I would like to tell you. I had switched from steam to Oil Pull in 1919 which, from a business angle, I never regretted, but that's another story I had run steam too long to lose that sensation and thrill which steam men cherish even to the smell of smoke and that aroma of steam and frying cylinder oil.
So it was that some years later a neighbor and thresherman friend, Nick Peterson, was quitting his 22 hp return flue Minneapolis engine for a Gas rig that I asked him for permission to once again steam her up. He apparently understood my feelings and graciously consented, assuring me that it was a pleasure and he would leave the water in for me.
Great was the anticipation of again starting that fire, readying for a trip to hear the simmering of water which turns to singing to my ears to see the gauge needle move away from the pin and above all to open the cylinder cocks and gently open the throttle.
So it was that during the latter days of that year's threshing run my faithful 30-60 Oil Pull sort of lost its appeal to me. But I did as usual after a season's run cleaned her of all grease and grime and shedded her.
Then it came to pass on a nice mild September morn I loaded wood and coal and started for the old shed where I had steamed up many times before.
That day was a thriller for me. After I got her out of the shed I could not resist to pull the whistle the old familiar way. Knowing that old neighbor would realize that Bill was up to something again. Then I started out for my home, parked her in the shade of a tree and just relaxed.
Later I steamed off ray mounted cylinder corn sheller and farm tractor. Midafternoon I made the return trip to the shed. I backed her into the close quarters by throttle as of old (as many will recall, the Minneapolis return flue had a very quick throttle). A forlorn feeling came over me as I drained the pipes and finally closed the shed doors. I presume all this makes sense and is understood only by those who have gone my way.
A few weeks later that same engine came by for the last time. Dan Cooper had bought her. He used her only a few years before moving to California where he died in 1950 I wish now I had bought that engine, it was one like I had run as a lad and young man.