SOOT IN THE FLUES

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A cheery Hello and a hearty handshake to each one of you. AND if
the column is smudged with black — think nothing of it — it is
just the remains of a most pleasant trip to the Montpelier Reunion.
My daughter, Dana, and I were guests of the Ritzman’s for this
affair, and we certainly extend our thanks for such a wonderful
chance to meet so many fine folks and enjoy the fellowship of the
‘steam fans’. And since I had never been so far away from
home for quite a while and never left the family overnight I had
quite a battle with myself before taking the step –I felt like a
pioneer ‘going west’ — but I made it and am most happy I
did. You know the saying, ‘You never know what you’re going
to like, until you try it.’ Well, we tried, we liked, and now
— it’s probably in our blood too, so don’t blame anyone
but yourself, Elmer, if you find a few more in your gang at the
Reunions.

I’ll tell you these people are one of the happiest groups
I’ve ever run across, it really is like a big happy family —
all kidding each other and happy to meet again after the long
winter. They remind you of a bunch of kids playing with their
favorite toys — and why not — most adults are just kids grown up
when it comes to having fun. I think it is wonderful for folks to
have a hobby where they can forget the everyday chores and cares of
life and just do what they are doing because they love it, and
believe me that’s the ‘Iron-Men’ followers.

We had a wonderful time talking to all these people we met and
we also thoroughly enjoyed our experience on some of the engines.
Mr. Earnest Hoffer of Toledo, Ohio, took Dana and I for quite a
ride on his Buffalo-Pitts (he let us run it too, or at least we
thought we did). It’s lots of fun, I think. Then Percy Sherman
of Palmyra, Michigan, had Earlene, Marsha, Dana and I on the 25 hp
Russell — we took her the whole way around the track. Friday night
in the parade, Earlene and I ran across the field to get on an
engine and the closest one was a Nichols & Shepard being driven
by Mr. Hoffer and owned by him and Mr. Sherman. He was very kind to
us, but we knew soon enough that the engine was not built for more
than one or two at the most, and when we two corn-fed
Pennsylvanians plus Mr. Hoffer were on it — there was no room, but
we hated to walk all the way back and he put up with us until we
got around closer to the grandstand, where Mrs. Hoffer rescued him
and invited us on the TNT Float mentioned in Earlene’s column.
We had a lot of fun though with Mrs. Hoffer — telling her that was
some way to get us away from her hubby. She’s a real nice lady
though, and knew we were just one of the jolly crowd.

They had a Railroad Steam Locomotive out there mounted on a
truck frame with rubber tires. It went ’round and ’round
that track, just chugging like a locomotive — you’d have
thought for sure it was on tracks a-puffin’ away –and nearly
every time around, Dana was a passenger. Must be the Pennsylvania
Railroad blood in her, inherited from her father (an engineman)! —
And they kidded her about that, too. she had a great time, but I
watched as the tug-of-war contest was in session with the
‘would be strong’ men and boys –she could hardly keep from
getting her hands on that rope. I know how she felt — that was
just one of those times when girls who are ladies but have some of
that ‘tomboy’ in them could just wish. Oh well! I’m
sure they’re only moments of regret, and that’s all. Elmer
and I surely wish he had that engine (above-mentioned) in here — I
told him he could take all the kids on the street to school every
morning –they don’t have very far to go, but it’s still a
nice thought!

We attended two of the meetings there and found them quite
enjoyable. There are so many nice booths of handicrafts there, we
brought home quite a few nice gifts. — And eats, of course you
know how any such affair is, there must be eats. You eat only once
a day though — ALL DAY!

Oh yes, another thing I wanted to mention to any women pondering
on going to the reunions — GO – you’ll have loads of fun. It
is a bit dirty, but it doesn’t take long to clean up and if the
steam and humid weather tends to make your hair droop, don’t
worry, out there they had a remedy for that — at 12 and 6 each
day, all the engines (nearly 40) blow their whistles as loudly as
possible — and believe me that’s enough to make your hair
curl!

I met Orrin Seavers there. Orrin is from Ypsilanti, Michigan,
and attends most of the reunions and represents our magazine when
no one is there from home and thus I have had a lot of
correspondence from him. Was real glad to meet him, and pleased
too, he’s a jolly person, quite intelligent and plenty of wit,
which I admire in anyone.

Had just lots of pleasant chats with many folks such as Mr. and
Mrs. Fred Heide of Niles, Michigan; Wm. H. Schwarzendruber of
Peoria, Illinois; Paul Curtiss, Fredericksburg, Ohio; Mr. and Mrs.
Leo Clark of Washington, Illinois; Mr. Clark is a railroad engineer
and has steam engines and photography as hobbies and he was
‘the man with the camera’ — he kept taking pictures of us
— only hope they were worth it and didn’t hurt the cameras.
Talked with the Leroy Blaker’s of Alvordton, Ohio, the Wilbur
Collin’s of Pontiac, Ill., the L. V. Kinzinger’s of
Carlock, Ill., the Pete Bucher’s of Fairfax, Iowa, Perry Tull
of Chicago, Ill., J. A. Rixmann of Hoyleton, Ill., Rollo Every of
Clark Lake, Michigan — all just grand folks in my book. Got a
little excited when I met the Lynn Langworthy’s of Alfred, New
York (our oldest offspring, Eddie, nearly 17, is working at an
oilfield in Bath, New York, this summer and, of course, just the
mention of New York had me talking. It’s the first of our young
ones to leave the nest for longer than a few days and it’s
quite an experience can’t say I like it –but I do feel
it’s worth it in many ways.

I haven’t meant to overlook any of you fine friends I met
out there, but I’m sure I haven’t mentioned all I’ve
met. Just one of those things — you can’t remember all the
names no matter how hard you try! We certainly enjoyed our trip and
I’m sure it won’t be the last. I only hope I can talk Hubby
into making the next one — he’s not much for traveling —
figures he covers enough ground each trip out on the railroad —
but perhaps if I brush up on my sales talk I can bring he and the
family next time.

Well, that about winds it up for now and I guess I can still add
a few words to ponder: Your teeth may be false, but let the tongue
be true. — The poorest man is not he who is without a cent, but he
who is without a dream. –It isn’t your position that makes you
happy or unhappy, it’s your disposition. — You will never get
ahead of anyone as long as you are trying to get even with him. —
The most inflammable kind of wood is the chip on the shoulder.

And here is a cute story to end with: The Sunday visitors had
picked the farmer’s fruits and his flowers, and their car was
full of plunder. Pointing to an unexplored highway, they inquired
of the farmer: ‘Shall we take this road back to the city?’
— ‘You might as well,’ replied the farmer, ‘you’ve
got almost everything else!’

Bye-bye — keep smilin’ and tendin’ the Reunions!

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment