Well, it certainly is a Winter Wonderland around here right now - we've had several snows and not enough warm weather in between to melt any of it away. Thank goodness the weather held up pretty well over Christmas and the folks could get home.
Daughter Dana came from Virginia by herself the day before Christmas and was supposed to go back Thursday, but then due to a heavy snowfall she didn't have to go back until New Years Day which gave her a nice long visit with us. Her hubby won't be home till the middle of January so they are having their Christmas then. We all missed Bob but are glad he will be home before long.
We were fortunate in that Son No. 1 and wife and daughter got here for a few hours - we held off our Christmas dinner until the 26th when we knew they were coming - it was good to have them here again - it's been about four months and the baby has really grown in the times in between that we get to see her. She is walking and of course trying out her childish talk and is a joy to behold. By the evening of the 26th though Tommie and I were both pretty well under the weather with the flu and Donnie had a touch of it, so we really weren't very good company for the Holiday Season, but all in all it could have been a lot worse and we're thankful for the good things we did experience.
And so we are well into 1968 - and wondering what surprises are in store for each of us I guess it's good we don't know before hand although sometimes you feel like you'd like to take a peek, but I doubt if any of us would have the courage were we offered the chance.
I have a letter from Earl J. Schwartz of R. D. 1, Hellam, Pennsylvania 17406 and he heads it: 'JUST ANOTHER FAVOR, PLEASE? - I have a problem with a Case Steam Engine. One that is similar to Mr. Fisher's engine shown on Page 12 of the ALBUM Jan & Feb 1968. The pin that carries the intermediate drive gear is worn out of round and must come out to be turned down or repaired, one way or another. The thing I would like to know is How is that 'pin' fastened to the support bracket that is bolted to the engine? Do you have anything that would show how this pin is fastened to the bracket or who could I contact for further information? Thank You.'
Well, I'm sure I can't answer Earl, but I'm hoping some of you folks in Steam-land will be able to write him and help him with his problem - please write Earl at above address - hell be gald to hear from you.
And another letter from Rex Johnson of 4017 Park Avenue, North Terre Haute, Indiana 47805. Rex writes: 'I attended shows at Elwood, Indiana; Kinzers, Pennsylvania; Kings, Illinois; Sycamore, Illinois, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Mount Pleasant, Iowa and Fort Scott, Kansas in 1967. Presidents of coming shows should suggest that they have exhibit numbers on each exhibit, one on each side of all the engines, large enough to show in a picture.
The Mount Pleasant Iowa Show had small cards about four inches square on the front axles. At Kinzers, Pennsylvania, a few had numbers. At Pickneyville in 1963 they didn't have any numbers and the engines were so close it was impossible to take a picture and the operators would not move their engines as they said anyone could take a picture of them in the parade. I never attended any more.
I was at Alvordton, Ohio in June 24, 1966 and attended the show at Waueson, Ohio and they had no numbers either. The operators or the owners of the engines should stop and think if it were not for the photographer, their shows would die.'
Well, now, there is food for thought in Rex's letter - I don't believe he meant it to be a gripe letter as much as one of constructive criticism and backed it up with examples. So we'll have to leave it up to you fellows that run the shows, but it seems a worthwhile suggestion to print the letter. And one thing I think you must try and remember - maybe some of these folks who take the pictures enjoy that as much as owning an engine and perhaps it is beyond their means to own an engine, so it wouldn't hurt to try and appease them - and really I imagine one is flattered when someone wants to take pictures of his engine - or am I wrong in this assumption? Well, we'll just have to wait and see what comes of this suggestion, Rex.
I was just sittin' and think in' the miraculous age of history we are living in and all the things that are happening all the time - how about the heart transplants? You can hardly believe what they are accomplishing, but I was thinking how many of us need a heart transplant right now-not the physical kind-the spiritual kind - wouldn't it be something if you could sort of trade that old hardened heart with the scar tissue of all our sins for one that would always be understanding, kind, considerate and loving to all brotherhood. Well, that's alot of talk I know but you know we are fortunate anytime at all we can have a new heart if we turn to the Lord and believe that Jesus died for our sins, but it seems we always make that so hard for our-
selves, we make it so complicated and like I said I was just sittin' and think in' and we'd probably think it more progressive or up to date to go to the Heart Bank and say - 'Hey, I'd like to turn this old pumper in for a new one that will make me a better person to my fellow man - and by the way could you sort of hide those scores of sins and malice showing on that one of mine - I'd rather no one see it' - you folks probably think I'm nutty but anyhow once in awhile some good thought come out , of something like this enough to inspire someone to better their life -1 hope so -who knows, I may even better myself just because I put it on paper. You know sometimes I get frustrated when it comes time to write the column and I think I don't know what to say or I wish it were done or etc. and yet, you know I believe it's good for me I've had to do it. I do hope I haven't been a bore - at least there is always someone of you kind folk out there that writes me every now and then and says you actually enjoy my column or point out one thing or another that you've liked. thanks, that's all the compensation I've needed and it's all been worthwhile.
Well, I really have rambled on enough and will close until May-June issue and you'll all be settin' out the onions and spring planting and shining the engines -see you then. And remember- Happiness is as a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Hawthorne.