Farm Collector

Dairyland Driftings

By Gil

WHO ME? WRITE A column? I must admit I’m not doing justice
to my correspondence, much less take this on my desk and I will
have to go into a routine huddle or else. Recalls to me the
incident of last War vintage, a fellow gets a job (easy enough) in
a garage in Frederic, but no place to live. Housing shortage in
reality. He came upon a farmer, Henry Peterson, about to retire and
had built a little house but still not completed. Well sir, if he
could only rent that house why he’d do anything to help the
farmer, not to mention rent. Time went on. Mr. Peterson needed some
help to saw up wood so approached the mechanic one Saturday
afternoon (when he was off work) about a little help. ‘Who
Me?’ responded the mechanic. Henry laughed.

Thusly I’ve been anxious to help the ALBUM from its humble
beginning, 1946 winter issue of 8 pages. With confidence I’ve
combed the uttermost parts for subscribers, then what? Sometime ago
Elmer contacted me about writing a column Who, Me? That really put
me to pondering finally wrote him, we’d try to simmer down to
answer come Reunion time, that I’d see him at Mt. Pleasont if
not sooner. But that collaboration was plenty brief. He simply
said, ‘It’s your move.’ 

Got married a leap year (1936) get it? And now again for the 2nd
time I’m caught in pursuit ‘for better or for
worse.’

My wife thinks I talk too much (visa-versa true) depends on the
subject. Now you take steam engines, Yah der been lots more to be
said. One Reunion night here back in the early 50’s Frank
Stebritz, (Algona, Iowa) was here. We practically put
‘Halos’ on steamers easy does it. My wife sez to us, sez
she, ‘don’t know about you guys but I’m going to
bed’. Well, I’ll never forget what Frank replied, ‘we
could go up the hay mow and talk awhile yet, it’s only 1:30
(a.m.).’ I was sure glad to meet up with Frank again at Mt.
Pleasant, he sure looks good for his age and it does make me feel
good just to talk with him Some more about engines you know.

And that takes me to the merits of the Reunions. Knowing all too
well what’s involved to stage a Show. I certainly have learned
to appreciate the good points. Would that I had the means to go
from one Reunion to another boy don’t that sound good. Like
Durward Steinmetz said, ‘They are all good only some may be
bigger or better than others.’

It is a way and means of meeting old acquaintances as well as
making new friends. With those engines in the midst seems all
nature is in tune. It’s not just a part of life, it’s a
main part of living. Take Mt. Pleasant (I merely quote this one,
being there, but it is typical of any Mid-West Reunion). While
there I was paged, and found Geo. R. Martin (a neighbor boy back in
the early 20’s) who had driven up from the Sheppard Air Force
Base, Wichita Falls Texas. He is now a diesel instruction engineer
for the navy. He keeps in touch with the Steam Movement through the
IRON-MEN ALBUM. Even when he was stationed in Tonli, Greenland.
Knowing him as a lad I’ll never dare underestimate anyone’s
potential ability. Then I came across an old acquaintance (from
Blaker’s doings in ’49) Morgan Hill from Linesville,
Pennsylvania. (Thanks to Oliver Rhea for bringing Morgan along).
Then at one of those luscious pancake breakfasts who should I meet
but Forest Pense of Harvard, Nebraska, with Emil Kudlacek of David
City, Nebraska. We’ve known each other for a long time but
never met before. I was sure glad to meet up with our beloved
veteran of the steam era, Marcus Leonard of Salina, Kansas. Had a
chat with our good friend, Lyman Knapp, Blackwell, Oklahoma. Met
Johie Lee and Art Swensen from near Vibory, South Dakota.
Recognized Orvid J. Steven from Barnard, South Dakota, but must say
I sadly missed his father, J. L. Steven, who passed away last
February. There was the Webb Mooneys from Nortonville, Kansas. Had
a pleasant talk with Ed. Vogel, Buhl, Idaho. I sure hope to go west
‘young’ man like I never did before. Also had the pleasure
to meet Miss Emma Yanez, a scholarship student from Las Cruces, New
Mexico. (I think I’ll go south instead, Ed.).

And so it goes from year to year, these ‘steam rallys’
(as Art Clark of Essex, England, would say) bring together people
of many States and Provinces. It must please the Good Lord to find
groups of people who can visit and enjoy life together irregardless
of religion, color or creed. May these ‘Rallys’ serve as a
part in promoting good fellowship in this country as well as
between nations.

  • Published on Jan 1, 1960
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