'They're having some trouble belting that undermount to the Prony brake.' 'Put your double Rumely on the teeter board.' 'Joe, let's get that Keck on the Baker fan' .... Yes, to you old-timers that language is well understood. To one who traveled the Reunion Circuit for the first time is was a strange but fascinating lingo.
With this came my baptism from showers of vaporized carbon and the sweet aroma of oil saturated steam. Then the thrill of the cracking exhaust spewing black smoke as the gaping fire box was fed. The spinning crank disc with its restless connecting rod created a rhythm in the top supporte of the engine that seemed to carry right through to my very bones.
I saw the smile of satisfaction breaking through a weather beaten face as the throttle was pulled once again to relive memories. There was the well seasoned engineer who jumped from the platform to deflect escaping steam with his shovel while making emergency repairs to a broken water gauge glass.
The sound of the ax and the scraping of flue cleaners signaled the beginning of each new day. At night, the banking of fires held a special significance for me. This was the time you could visit with the engineers as they gathered in small groups under the trees near the engines. The experiences and yarns swapped by these fellows will long be remembered.
These things I have learned to love and now I miss them. This is the reason my feeble mind later refused to respond to the 'abnormal' routine of making a living. These things cannot pass. They must live on to satisfy the desires and romances of steam.
All of this and much more can be found at a steam reunion. Here are genuine friendly people. There is absence of roughness, anxiety and the nervous tension of fast living. Perhaps the great Creator has something to do with reunions since they are sprinkled with an abundance of good things.
Whether they're side mounts, rear mounts, undermounts, singles or doubles; let's keep them cooking for the next generation to enjoy. Engineers and others who lived and worked with steam can be depended upon to carry on so long as there is a spark in the old fire box. Their knowledge and mechanical ability over-shadows many of our present day college trained engineers.
This was a vacation worth taking.