| September/October 1959

Country Echoes


R. D. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin

Ah, at last we are on our way to the Fond du Lac Steam Engine Show. It is surprising that we are on our way by 12:30 but children can really be helpful when there is an urge to go places. I can well remember my lather commenting on the same thing so it must be a recurring experience of every generation. Our back seat is slowly getting less congested. Where there used to be six lively children in the car today we have only three and the youngest of these is almost eleven. Times marches on and no man can stay it's hand. Now and then, however, we can recall a bit of yesterday and as we approach the fairgrounds we see many people who may have been firmer of step at one time making their way through the gates. The gleam of youth returns to their eyes as they hear the first steam engine whistle give that sharp resounding echo from the past. Surely THIS is a COUNTRY ECHO.

As we set foot on the race track our eyes are drawn to the row of shiny old time cars, the oldest of these is a beautiful Model T Touring Car complete with brass radiator and what we decided might be carbon or gas burning lights. This beauty is owned by Bernhard Kleinschmidt of Fond du Lac. There were about twelve interesting old cars on display.

By this time the announcer is urging us all to the grandstand. A bunch of happy boys are following a red-nosed clown all over and copying his antics. The parade soon starts and a good description is given of each entry. We are treated to a whistle from almost all of them. The shiny cars bring up the rear and again we start investigating all the things there are to see. We see an interesting modified model of the second Tom Thumb built in 1830. This model was built by Don Denzin of Ripon in 1956. He operated this on a track about three feet from the ground. It is capable of pulling a flat trailer carrying a full-grown man. Before we leave the vicinity of the parade we watch a veteran operator, Ray Klinger of Hartford, make a quick setting for threshing and without any unnecessary manipulations he gets the belt on properly in no time. He is driving Harold Jen's machine, a Case 50, and he brought it down from Elkhart Lake.

The announcer urges all men to gather round for the tug-of-war which is to follow. The rope is quickly grasped by all the grandsons of their steam enthused grandpas. After considerable coaxing some reinforcements are gathered from the crowd and the battle between the Case 50 and the men and boys begins. Ah me! The rope breaks and everyone lands in the dust and dirt. 'Double the rope,' is the shout and the tug is resumed. Of course you know who wonthe Case 50!


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