| January/February 1984

10022 Mornice Avenue, Tujunga, California 91042

They say that a criminal always returns to the scene of his crime, and I had that feeling as I pulled into Mt. Pleasant, Iowa last August for the big steam and gas engine reunion. Of course the last time I was there I didn't rob a bank or get put in jail for kicking the town marshall's dog, so I didn't qualify for the criminal part. But I just couldn't resist coming back again to look things over.

This whole thing started three years ago when I was back East on vacation. Having a few days to spare I journeyed up to Mt. Pleasant to take in the show. It was a wonderful experience in every way and I enjoyed myself to the fullest. Saw a lot of equipment that was used on the farms when I was a kid and met many of the people who were exhibiting their machinery. One of the most colorful characters there was Henry Oswald of Monmouth, Illinois. Henry, who has an under-mounted Avery, would make a good addition to any Chamber of Commerce welcoming committee. He took me under his wing and made my visit more enjoyable than ever, showing me around the place and introducing me to many of the men and their engines.

So last spring, the time of the year when a feller normally gets itchy feet, I decided to come back and see the 34th running of the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers reunion. I wrote to Henry, telling him of my plans and he was quick to answer back, giving me the good news that his Avery had been chosen the 'Engine of the Year' and suggested that I come back a few days early and see the operation of getting the engines serviced and shined up for the big show. So packing my gear in the old Jalopy, I left California and headed for Mt. Pleasant.

Before I left home I contacted Edna Wright regarding a place to stay. Edna handles the placing of visitors to the reunion who want rooms in town, so she was my logical contact. She answered back that she could put me up in her house as she had eight or more beds available, thereby solving my sleeping problem. She has a card file of all the sleeping rooms available in Mt. Pleasant and can put as many as four hundred people to bed every night. Her husband, Everett, runs the steam flea market out at the show, so between them they contribute an awful lot to the success of the meet. I found this to be true with most of the people I met in Mt. Pleasant. Ready to do their part to keep the reunion alive and flourishing, thereby preserving an operating history of farming as it was many years ago.

I arrived on Sunday morning and on going out to the grounds, found things pretty much as I remembered it from three years ago. Steam engines lined up, the gas tractor section rapidly filling and the gasoline section jumping with activity along with a lot of popping and banging as the old one-lungers were being coaxed back to life. All in all it looked as though a lot was about to happen.