One could hardly write a paragraph in the Fall-OYear without reminiscing and reunions . . .
Luck came my way during hay season (or part thereof) . . . seems Bill Nelson, Ophiem, Illinois, succumbed to the urge of going fishing in our lake region. Being a close friend of Reuben Bohman (Alpha, Illinois) invited him along. Evidently Reuben is not an ardent fisherman. . . few steam fans are ... so he stops at 'the Johnson Place' and got hooked in haying. He witnessed the use of hay-slings and in putting up hay the 'old way 'and found as how the tempo is reduced on a mere '12 cow ranch' With Reuben as an incentive, we decided to have a 'Hay Day' on the Fourth, and invited those of Early Day interest for pot-luck and hay rides using different old tractors and the case '50' to haul in the hay. Some 30 persons came and it was the first genuine hay ride for many youngsters including the Jake Maurer's from Minneapolis. Food was plentiful and Reuben solved one problem by making a couple of saw-horses and we soon had an outdoor picnic table. Jake had his tape recorder along for some 'steam music' and interviews to send to Art Clarke in England. (Did you get it, Art?) Karl Marquardt had several gas engines going including his 5hp Ottowa drag saw. As a finale we lined up 15 old tractors for a picture, all in running order.
As for Bill and his fishing don't know if Wisconsin needs a bag-limit but he did sense there is a difference between fishing and catching fish! I recall the time William Saters came up to do some fishing, we had a hard time finding worms, much less catch fish. At any rate, something tells me by next July they'll be 'hitting' good, Bill.
Went with Jerry and Rickey Erickson on a tractor hunt. Bagged two old-timers and one gas engine. Jerry landed a 20-30 Wallis, No.64997, at Emerald. We then stopped at Paul Thoruds near Connersville. He very obligingly started his 1906 - 1 cyl. International 15 hp tractor, the oldest tractor I've seen operate. Took some pictures and hit for Rice Lake. After some dickering with the Case dealer, Rickey became the proud owner of a 12-20 Case, No. A317106.
Come mid-August, my steam threshing was in order. Jim Johnson, Park Ridge, Illinois, did a splendid job as engineer, and with such volunteer help as Harry Schachts, Eau Claire; Jerry Erickson, Grantsburg; Louie Hendrichs, Steven Mortinsen, Frederic; Dick and Dale Johnson (my nephews) we soon shelled out my 9 acres of Ajax oats.
On Labor Day, Geo. Christian, my wife, Alice, and I good-bye'd the cows and heads for Reunions. Our first stop the 'steamerama' Show at Austin, Minnesota. Every Rally is in some respect different from the rest. Here was a lad nigh onto 14 years old, Jerred Rubel, in charge of his 22 hp return flue Minneapolis Engine No. 6991 which is in near new condition, and belted to the sawmill, using a top saw whittling boards outa' some healthy cotton wood logs. Jim Rubel tells me next year this engine will be, the Lord willing, belted to its old partner -- a Wood Mpls. separator with wing feeders and swinging slat stacker. That, I gotta see! Here, too, was a nice collection of gas engines. A dandy 4 hp Mogul side shaft engine owned and run by Larry Neilson, Glennville, Minn., belted to a grist mill grinding ear corn.
Our hopes had been to take in three different reunions on three consecutive days, but were unable to engage a chore boy in due time, as several shows are comparatively close together and all held Labor Day weekend.
On Tuesday morning we dropped in on the remnants of the Hudson, Iowa, show. A nice collection of items, indications of a good performance. There I saw a Greyhound steamer for the first time, apparently owned by Irma Warneke. On taking notes, serial numbers, sizes, etc., that morning, I sez to George, 'What's the date today' -- 'Today is the 6th, now try to remember that till noon at least' --thus it goes, hardly a dull moment with George along.
Next stop -- Traer, Iowa where we evidenced remains of a much bigger affair, with acres of modern machinery on display, a speakers' platform, and political papers strewn about, but a fine array of old tractors, some 26 gas engines, four steamers and several threshers. We did see some action here a 27-44 Twin City tractor, No. 250062, sawing hardwood lumber using a Crabb mill.
Driving on, we over-nighted in Plainfield and the next stop at Job Andersons, Washington, Iowa. Job sez it's the cleanest town if you aren't clean when you get there, you will be when you leave -- (meaning what?) He farms an 80, same caliber as us'ns, only he's simplified his operations by catering to poultry steada cows. (Would that my wife loved chickens, too!)
Arriving in McMillan Park (Mt. Pleasant) we set up George's tent for the 'duration' Sure enough there were his 'nabers' he met in '59 the Lloyd Easters from Missouri a happy occasion indeed. Rather high temperatures first two days of the show. At least one elderly feller did sompin about it, and I envied his courage, he walked about barefooted. That's making yourself at home, pardner!
It was sure great to be back among steam fans and friends. Glad to meet up with Marcus Leonard of Salina, Kansas, and there was Carlos Litten of Newark, Ohio. Seems he had been to Kinzers Reunion and recognized a Mrs. Ebersol from whom he had bought some of that tasty apple butter. At this point in the conversation I was introduced to a charming couple, Nancy and Elmer B. Ebersol, Rt. 1, Bareville, Pennsylvania. They were newlyweds and what an ideal way to spend a honeymoon, I thought. Not quite so fortunate were another pair of newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. George Martin from the Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Texas. Flying a T34 single engine trainer, had visited in our locality. Plans were to stop at 'Midwest Old Threshers' enroute back to Texas. Somehow the landing gear hit a rough spot on the take-off from his brother's farm near Lewis, Wisconsin, and crippled the plane forcing them to pursue other means of transportation back to the Lone Star State nobody hurt, but missed the reunion. Better luck next year you-all come!