UNION CITY, INDIANA.
'I call 'er the 'Sassy Lady' because she's a sassy-running li'l devil. You've never heard a sassier running engine in your life, Have you? ' Thus spake O. W. Nichols as he rolled and tossed on the vibrating deck of 'Sassy Lady' - his beloved 17-70 H.P. Sawyer-Massey of Canadian origin whose beauty and performance at midwest reunions always stops both old-timers and 'younguns' in their tracks at the sights and sounds thereof.
But over and above the bright reds and greens and polished brass punctuated by the sharp, pronounced bark of the picturesque capped stack of Sawyer-Maasey, there's always a feeling of good old-time international relations that permeate the atmosphere whenever good-fellows gather 'round the 'Sassy Lady' each year at the big National Threshers Association reunion at Wauseon, Ohio. For 'Sassy Lady', unlike other steam engines at the reunion, possesses that rare charm of bringing Canadian and American throttle-jerkers into friendly and amiable conclave - to blow off steam together and thus smooth over borderline relationships that might well be the envy of any international diplomat.
Could it be that a shoe-pounding Khrushchev might well have visited a midwest American steam engine reunion, and thus worked off his excess steam by popping off a safety valve at 200 pounds pressure atop some steaming boiler, prior to entering the august chambers of the United Nations, and thus be settled enough to conduct the business of state in more dignified a manner. Or better still, had the Russians rolled into Czeckoslovakia bringing a few old-time threshing engines and separators instead of tanks and guns - and the twain blown off steam together like 0. W. Nichols and his Canadian cohorts 'round ol' Sawyer-Massey 'Sassy Lady ' - well, history would be a lot more pleasant to write and read. (Iron Man, Art Heiland of Anna, Ohio, agreeing).
But regardless of the short-sighted wrangling of the international set who spend millions getting nowhere in their ivory towers, Pickerington's O. W. Nichols and his 'Sassy Lady' go about it their own ways in cementing relations between nations. And when it's all over, there's always the friendly handshake between men on both sides of the border, in front of old Sawyer-Massey s boiler.
It all began back when O. W. was just a lad on the Nichol's farm between London and Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.
'I got steam in my blood when I was only ten,' is the way Iron Man Nichols explains the beginnings of his love affair with 'Sassy Lady'. 'I used to just love anything with wheels. Played hookey from the country one-room school, many a time, to run a steam engine on the farms along The Governor's Road which connected London with Woodstock.'
' Must've been about fifteen, when Dad got me my first engine.' reminisced Iron Man Nichols. 'It was a White return-flu portable. Dad got it to keep me down on the farm'.
'But I wasn't satisfied, because I began nagging for a traction engine instead,' mused O. W., flicking cigaret ashes over into his engine coal bunker. 'So Dad bought a 13 H.P. Sawyer-Massey engine. Still not big enough - I wanted more horsepower, and Dad bought a 14 H. P. Waterloo. Even that wasn't enough horsepower to suit me, so Dad got a 16 II. P. Waterloo. You see Dad was very conservative when it came to horsepower.'