| May/June 1991

Lindenwood Road, Lindenwood, Illinois 61049

Well, it finally happened again. It took three and a half years, but I finally 'got to ride along' on one of those trips to Michigan last January. It was no small task getting everything arranged on the home front in order to go. God love her, my mom tackled our three boys from Saturday morning until Monday night. She deserves the medal of bravery.

Now I'm not complaining, 'cause they did let me go, but I more than paid my dues getting there. While I was taking the carload of boys and boys' 'weekend-at-Grandma's' paraphernalia to Mom's, John Haley arrived at our place rarin' to get to Michigan. Of course a body needs a cup of coffee before going back out in the cold, so Joe and John sat down at the table and started talking steam over a cup. Now John is quite a collector of steam stuff no matter how big, like his 24 Minnie or how small, like his postcards or pins. When I finally got back, there he and Joe were pouring over old steam catalogs and smoke box door decorations.

With the trunk now empty, it was time to load up and head out. As I was traipsing in and out of the kitchen, carrying suitcases and snow gear and 'cookie-care-packages for Jim Schrock', I decided that coffee sure smelled good. I asked Joe to get me a cup as I headed out the door with another arm load of stuff. When I got back those two had moved into the living room looking at more steam things. (I guess I'd better mention I also noticed Joe had finished doing the dishes for me, too!) Next thing I know Joe asks if there's anything else to load. I say'' No''. He says 'Let's go!' I still didn't get my coffee. A-a-w-w-w.

Now comes the real test of fire. Joe: 'Did you remember to bring ?' Me: 'Yes'. Joe: 'I bet you forgot------'. Me: 'You didn't tell me to bring!' John's just sitting there grinning. He's a great guy to take on a trip. Thinks a lot like Joe does, (oh no), has a lot of good stories to tell and isn't afraid to talk. By the end of the trip up, there were times you couldn't tell who came up with the new topic first between those two. I should have remembered I was starting out out-numbered. Poor-little-'ol-me endured six hours of being picked on. All so I could go along on the Michigan trip.

I thought for sure I'd gain some help from my Michigan friends in the battle of words when we got there. No such luck; no sympathy and even a few more good-natured jabs at my being there. That was my greeting in Mason. Well, I tell you, that was it! As far as I was concerned, everyone for himself and anyone was fair game now. If there was going to be an opportunity to get a well chosen word or two in, I was goin' to do it.


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