Why Not Be A Little More Liberal?

| September/October 1969

I realize that in writing this, I am threading on controversial ground, but here goes anyway.

During the past decade, I have attended many steam shows, and have met a lot of interesting people. However, I have met some that I do not care to meet again. For the greater part, men in charge of engines have been a friendly lot, but some have been just a little short of rude.

I realize that some of the questions that men are asked are very simple, but we as engineers, need to remember that a steam engine is not a common thing to most of the people who attend steam shows. We can make friends for ourselves, and more important, we can make friends for the shows by answering their questions, regardless of how simple they may seem, in a courteously and friendly manner.

I had my engines in a show for the first time this past season, and after the show was over, looking back I realized that the greatest enjoyment of the show was in sharing my engines with others. Many old engineers attend these shows, who do not own engines, but their love for them is strong. I am particular with my engines and certainly do not intend letting anyone run them, unless I am convinced he is capable of doing so, and then, only if I am on the platform with him.

I have never ran another man's engine at any show, although I have been invited to do so many times; but having my own engines I see no need for it. But, I have seen many men stand and look with a longing eye toward the engine controls, and they did not have to speak for me to know what they were thinking. It does not take long to determine if a man is an engineer, and if you find he is, you can furnish him with the thrill of a lifetime by asking him if he would like to 'take her around the circle?' But ride with him. You'll make a personal friend as well as a booster for the show.

Having spent a few seasons in the 1920's running a threshing engine, and later seeing many good engines consigned to the scrap heap in the next two decades; it was with considerable satisfaction that I saw a renewed interest in steam traction engines in the late 40's. However, it was not until two years ago that I was able to buy one for myself. The