| May/June 1961

  • Tom Smith, Joe Fahnestock'
    Taken at Allegan, Michigan in 1960. Left to right: Tom Smith, Joe Fahnestock (writer), and Editor Ritzman.
    Joe Fahnestock
  • Roy Tidwell on his Case 40 hp
    Roy Tidwell on his Case 40 hp in parade through downtown Pueblo, Colo. Colorado State Fair, 1960. His daughter Sylvia is on left of driver's seat on the water wagon.

  • Tom Smith, Joe Fahnestock'
  • Roy Tidwell on his Case 40 hp


Being a writer for a newspaper I shouldn't be addressing an editor, of all people, with a 'Dear Friend' prefix.

However, I have just made up a picture of the one I had my wife take of the late Tom Smith, myself and you at the Allegan, Mich., meeting early in the summer of 1960. The photo shows that two editors and a writer can get along on the same bench for an instant or so.

In between two editors I am showing my manuscript and photos which I've gleaned from attending the midwest reunions over the past ten years. I wrote it up in a national history of the Steam Threshermen's Reunions since their beginnings at the LeRoy Blaker farm in Alvordton, Ohio.

I focussed my camera and handed it to my wife, Patty, to snap our combined pictures on the bench up at Allegan, Mich., that cold and windy day when we didn't have much else to do at the moment. I recall my wife and I kept moving our recorder around to different spots to ward off the wind and also to try and get someone to listen to some recordings.

I remember that I had quite a time of it that day kidding Tom Smith about some rare steam threshing photos he had just acquired and was proudly showing around. When I was kidding him, he was trying to devour an American foot-long hotdog, purchased somewhere on the grounds, and he was trying to smile while at the same time licking the profusion of mustard off his lips, a feat that is difficult to execute. Tom did well, however, in that he did get in a few guffaws, and still got most of that mustard licked off, as well as the sandwich eaten.

I was quite sorry to hear of Tom Smith's passing shared equally by my wife who had come to know him the news of his demise being first passed on to us through a letter by the intellectually-profound Steam Engine Professor, Orrin Seaver.