The Poem describing the Western Minnesota Steam Thresher’s
Reunion has been delayed. It is another that is far too good for
the proverbial waste basket so we give it to you to enjoy.
N. B. Nelson says in his letter to the editor-‘On October
2nd, 1954, The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers held their reunion
near Rollag, Minn. Between three and four thousand people came to
witness this event. Eight States and Canada were represented. The
weather was good and everything’ went over in good shape.
Let me tell you a little story
And I’ll tell it all in rhyme
About a former glory
Brought back to our present time.
And in a little prologue
I’ll tell you what took place
‘Mid the rolling hills of Rollag
In those glorious by gone days.
For some of us remember
And often we recall
A pleasant mild September
Or later in the fall.
An early morn before the dawn
The time the roosters crow
We had just got up to stretch and
When we heard the whistle blow.
And for us little farmer lads
The grandest time of all
Was when we went to watch our dads
While threshing in the fall.
Somehow we always got a thrill
T’was music to our ears
To hear the call of the whistle shrill
And the rumble of the gears.
Later on there came a time
When we could run the show
Ignoring dust and grease and grime
And work as you well know.
It was our happy lot to live
A part of that great era;
No doubt the future more will give
But never more endear us.
And in the passing scenes of time
The steam era was not long;
Let’s preserve it now in song and
It’s history; and it’s gone.
But in the hearts of threshermen
There often is a dream
To polish up those rigs again
And thresh once more with steam.
There comes a time when dreams
As it did for young and old,
When we gathered up our threshing
And again those drivers rolled.
Half a mile or so from town
There is a hillside fair;
You can see this place for miles
And we did our threshing there.
There friendly willing neighbors
Stacked their golden grain,
Forgetting extra labors
Just to thresh with steam again.
For background there is a wildwood
With quiet timber lanes
Reminding you of childhood
Or youthful lovers lanes.
October second was the date
Set for this threshing bee;
The weather had been bad of late
And it worried us you see.
For days it had been soggy
And it drizzled through the night;
In the morning it was foggy
But by noon ’twas warm and bright.
And the beauty of the woodland
With its radiant autumn hue
Was enhanced by field and grassland
As it glistened from the dew.
By noon the field was covered
With cars from far and near
And there were planes that hovered
Above to watch from there.
So many folks came there to see
Three thousand, maybe more,
Just common folks like you and me
The kind that we adore.
The place was filled with action
All throughout the day;
Most any steam contraption
You could see there on display.
We started operations
About at mid forenoon;
We had our separate stations
And things were well in tune.
Oh, there was a belt that was too
A sieve that seemed to bind;
There was mention too of leaky flues,
But things worked out just fine.
The Gaar Scott pulled the Case
So big I believe they grow,
And if we had a threshing race
They would surely steal the show.
The Nichols & Shepard with a Case
Was polished slick and clean;
It ran as smooth as in younger days
All painted black and green.
Carl Johnson’s Case and Avery
That sturdy Yellow Fellow;
It did the cleanest job as every
Man could tell you.
Bill Aitkin’s with his huller
And Smith with N.B.’s Case,
You could tell by that clean clover
They had threshed other days.
There were at least eleven
Model engines on display,
All made by skillful craftsmen
Who turn work into play.
An efficient well trained parking crew
Was Albert, Clarence and Gus
With Selmer, Gerhard, Marv and Lew
They managed without fuss.
Jorgen hauled the coffee
While handyman was Arlen;
Curtis brought in food you see
And camera man was Harland.
Eddy was very handy
In his little button shop
Selling buttons, gum and candy
Cigars and ice cold pop.
Roger hauled the water;
Samuel hauled the coal;
The models were all cared for
By Allen, Bill and Noel.
Assisting too was Ben and John
And Carl and Theodore too;
To all of you who helped along
A hearty thanks is due.
There was Helmer, Carl and Monrad
Carl Johnson, Sam and Lloyd
And also thresher Ted,
The day they all enjoyed.
The Nelson brothers all were there
Carl, Hartvig, Chris and me
And Leonard, and then don’t you fear
We’ll not forget N. B.
For he’s the spark plug of the team
And he knows his engines well;
And every time you mention steam
It seems to ring a bell.
He has built and still is building more
Both engines and machines;
And at his Rollag Implement Store
Those models can be seen.
But who would ever want to thresh
You would never get it done
Without a lunch served clean and
With coffee, cake and bun.
So they were there, our ladies fair
Served lunch there all day long;
And when you saw their tasty fare
You would not go hungry long.
There was many a hearty handshake
As friendships were renewed
With memories of old times sake
While new faces too we viewed.
From Mankato we met Grice
And Jones from Little Falls
And Heimark who otherwise
Has often paid us calls.
Hardy Lindblad and Gilmar Johnson
In good company were there,
Driving up from old Wisconsin
To be with us way out here.
Kapaun and Danny Roen
Erickson, Smith and Shanstrom
Melbye, Flom and Ole Moen
And David Wennerstrom.
Gerhard Clausen and James Sylling
Flew in a week too late;
But they said they were unwilling
A whole year to go and wait.
J. B. Olden and Pete Folden
And Ole Herbranson were there;
They all can talk of olden times
When they could do their share.
The day of course came to an end
And folks went on their way;
Now to you all, we greetings send
We thank you for that day.
Another fall will soon be here
And when we’re set to go;
We hope to see you all out here
For we’ll surely let you know.
From Canada to Texas
From Oregon to Maine
And all you folks that’s next to us
From woodland and from plain.
From North and South Dakota
And you friends from Iowa
Come to Western Minnesota
When we thresh again some day.
From Wisconsin to Montana
We hope to see you all;
And we’ll wear that red bandana
When we thresh again next fall.