SOOT IN THE FLUES


| January/February 1985



Soot in the flues

Yes, you are right this is the first issue of 1985 but right now we are still in the closing weeks of 1984 and as I sit here writing to all my good friends, we still are two weeks away from knowing the name of the incoming President of our country. I just hope many of us have been in prayer for the future of our nation in many ways. But by the time you are reading this, the election will be past history and we will all be moving forward trying to make our own future worthwhile. I came across this A New Year's Prayer by W. R. HUNT from Guideposts Christmas Treasury it goes this way:
Dear Lord, please give me....
A few friends who understand me
and yet remain my friends
A work to do which has real value,
without which the world would feel
the poorer.
A mind unafraid to travel, even
though the trail be not blazed
An understanding heart...
A sense of humor.
Time for quiet, silent meditation.
A feeling of the presence of God.
And the patience to wait for the coming of these things, with the wisdom
to know them when they come.
(Beautiful, isn't it?? reminds me a
lot of one of my favorite prayers
probably yours too God grant me
the serenity to accept the things I
cannot change; courage to change
those things I can and the wisdom to
know the difference).

Well, now that's quite a bit to think about for the year so we will get on to the incoming mail

Your item in the Nov/Dec issue of IMA inspires comment,' says CLIFF B. SHIRLEY, 2009 West 71st Street, Prairie Village, Kansas 66208.

'As a city boy who never saw steam threshing other than as a demonstration, I would certainly like to see more in the Album about steam power other than the traction engine. While the farm boys were admiring the threshers, the city boy watched steam shovels, hoists, derricks, cranes and if he was fortunate enough, stationary engines in power houses. He also had another break that the farm boy didn't always get, that of hearing the big whistles on factories. Back when things were done right, any shop worth the name had its own steam plant and sounded the whistle several times each day. So, I would sure like to read more about city steam.

'In the summer of 1927 I visited my grandfather, who lived on a farm about a mile north of Avoca, Arkansas. His farm was small, and he was in poor health, so he didn't have what later-day enthusiasts believe that no farm was complete without a steam engine and a windmill. One morning he hitched ol' Bunk to the buggy and we went off in a direction that I can't remember at this late date. It seemed like a long ride to me, but as last we came to a steam sawmill. I suppose that it was a common enough type of outfit in those days. A traction engine, with a belt drive to a circular saw and all that goes with it. A log was on the carriage, ready to be cut. But, they were still and they told us that their belt had broken. I still remember how disappointed I was. So, the only other part of that journey that I can remember was seeing a passenger train in the distance, and some man saying that it was the 'Cannonball'. It must have been the Frisco, only railroad around there, but I have never seen any timetable of that era that gives a train that name. However, old railroaders usually say that no railroad is worth a whoop unless it had a train sometime in its life that was called the 'Cannon-ball', had a stretch of track called the 'Peavine' and another stretch called the 'High Line.'

'I enjoy the magazine very much, but I must confess that for me the best parts of it are about steam power of a type that the boy in the city watched long ago. That also includes the little trains in the parks.' (I'll bet this letter tips off some reminiscing in a lot of steam engine city folk how about it?)