| July/August 1952

3501 Bristol Highway Kingsport, Tenn.

A sort of nostalgia comes over me when I think of the grain threshing days in Tennessee when I was a boy. I think of a few times when we slept in burns-- the sweet smells. the musical sounds! To fall asleep in the aroma of new mown timothy and clover and the delightful odor of hot horse flesh--the sweet fragrance of wood smoke oil and steam--to lie there with those big husky fellows, men of toil and men of the soil, and to hear the music of munching animals, and the sizzling, frying, spewing. dozing steam engine as he, as if animate, would, with the rest, of us. lapse into a peaceful quiet, a kind of coma, when the steam guage would register a lowering 'blood pressure', the mantle of dark ness would envelop us, the cool of even tide would caress our checks and every man would begin to snore, each in his individual key, and soon, the dreams of working men turned to work, the silence of night would be broken when someone would yell: 'Let her go!' or 'More wheat', or perhaps, 'Now everybody, come up with her'! O. beautiful isle of memory! These thoughts carry me hack beyond what were working days for me, to child-hood days of boyish play--days when I would beg the engineer to let me ride from one set to another--riding sometimes standing on the platform, holding to his monkey jacket: sometimes on the plat form tank, or even atop a pile of wood stacked on the water wagon. When threshing, my favorite seat was on top a big iron-cleated driver that would vibrate with the motion of the engine. From the sparks of many a day the engineer's hat and jacket looked like a sifter, and I even liked that, wishing that my own had in them the decorative burned holes.

No engineer was ever unkind, even though I may have at times interfered with his work, but he always acted like he had read something in an old Book called 'The Golden Rule,' and remembered when he was a boy. Truly, that was the 'Golden Age,' and its spirit warms my heart to this day. One of my hobbies is making Kodaks of steam engines. I drive miles to run one down of which I have heard. On one 15-mile highway I found six team engines, all in use but one. In a radius of three miles I found five traction engines--one big A. B. Farquhar, and the others big Fricks.

I understand now what a former teacher meant when speaking to our Tennysonian literary Society at Cedar Creek Academy, Jonesboro, R. F D., Tenn., when he, Prof. B. S. Depew said: 'If I could afford it, I should like to give every boy a steam engine that he might pull the whistle cord and fill the land with the sweetest music this old world as ever known.

'Backward, turn backward, Oh time in thy flight.

Make me a. boy again, just for tonight.'