Can Steam Come Back?


| March/April 1988



The following article is reprinted from the October 1931 edition of American Thresherman and Farm Equipment. It was submitted to I M A by W. E. Neal of 613 8th Avenue, Charles City, Iowa 50616.

Tis but human to cling to the old things. The old swimming hole, the long walk to school through the snow drifts of winter and the almost bottomless roads of spring and fall bring back boyhood recollections. Getting the mail once a week after perhaps a five or even a 10-mile drive, brings back pleasant memories.

Isolation had its keen compensations in that it brought in the news from the outside through the peddler, the salesman, the stock buyer and the casual call of a neighbor.

How we boys liked to see the pack peddler come for an overnight stay. The mysteries that pack contained will never be forgotten. It mattered not that the merchandise was soiled through much handling. In our eagerness to see every article which the canvas-wrapped pack contained, we crowded in to the point where our parents became annoyed and we were fortunate if we were not sent off to bed, much to our disappointment. That pack was a veritable 'Pandora's box,' and the peddler was a personage of considerable note in our estimation.

There was no telephone over which we could gossip or call the hands at threshing time, but how we boys enjoyed riding horseback from neighbor to neighbor, advising each of the fact that the thresher was coming and would they be on hand with as many empty grain sacks as they could possibly bring. The day or two of threshing was in the same class as the county fair, the Sunday School picnic or the circus an event which came but once a year.

There was no radio to give us the news of the day even before it appeared in the newspapers, and the present-day radio program to which we have now grown so accustomed, as a matter of course, would have satisfied our imagination beyond our wildest dreams.