Apparently the article we published in our August issue titled, Observations of an Engine Widow, by Jeannie Rolfe struck a familiar chord with a number of our women readers. Here are excerpts from two of the letters we received on the subject.
Mrs. Norm Hockemeier of Holbroo, Nebraska said of the article, 'Did it ever sound typical of our 'runs' to shows, swap meets, etc.'
She reports that there are several centennial celebrations in towns near her, and that her husband has been asked to bring engines this year. 'Good things, too have come out of the 'Engine Syndrome' of our family,' she reports. 'My husband and son go to shows together, and our unmarried daughter participates when possible. Also our oldest daughter's children go and ride the trains, pony rides, etc. that are available at the Kansas and Nebraska shows we attend. So what more important thing could there be than to bring families together? We notice others at the shows who make it a bond for their families also.
''One good point for the 'Gas Engine Nut' is that I have observed most of them bringing the same old wife to shows year after year. Perhaps we just get 'shuffled' in amongst the engines when being loaded, and look good so we get to go along Ha!
Mrs. Hockemeier concludes that, 'at least we don't seem to get swapped, horse traded, bought or sold as often as the engines. Better they trade engines than wives, right?'
Ruby Broyles of Route3, Waverly, Kansas 66871 says of Jeannie Rolfe's article, 'I couldn't have said it better myself. The difference here is it lasts more than with the two weekend events that she referred to around our area it begins in May and ends in late October with 2 to 3 day events at most shows.
'Now since I can't fight 'em, I join 'em. Since it all 'seems' so easy and what we call fun, we decided 4 years ago to have an annual show of our own the last weekend in June. Now let me tell you, here you get a good workout! It is located at our farm and just our family plus a few good friends manage all the food, fun and headaches for a non-profit show. This is tractors, steam engines and gas engines,
'After we survive this (oh, about a week later you begin to feel life coming back into your body) we begin to attend all the others on the schedules. Let me give you an example of one show 100 miles away.
'First we must decide how many drivers and tractors to take. With everyone lucky enough to hold down jobs sometimes this constitutes a problem, but now assuming all goes as planned we can begin the loading procedure. The tractors are all named depending upon which junk pile they were retrieved from (must say we all agree the old Allis Chalmers show best for us). So after the big decisions and the tractors are bathed, now which vehicle do we use to pull the trailers?
'About here we have the big rigs ready and usually seven of these lovely Allis ladies are on the road. Chains, boomers, flags, tags, gas and grease rags. Oops, almost forgot the food ice chests, coolers, cameras, chairs, and Grandma (that s me) and the drivers' C.B. radios.
'Away we go 3 miles and gotta stop to check the loads, and the chains-after a couple of pit stops, a flat tire on one of the trailers, a battery cable on one truck (came unglued or whatever happens) we are now on the turnpike headed for the big event. (Remember, we are still having fun!) Once off the turnpike and the fee paid, we locate the spot to unload the lovely jewels. Little did we know they had received a 3' rain, but what's a little mud at a time like this? We know we are at the right place because you can see and hear all of this talk of tractors, engines, spark, mags, draw bars, cylinders, hitches, plugs, pistons, carburetors, flywheels and much more with some uncolorful adjectives added in. We are a 3 generation family, so we can understand!
'Once we are unloaded it's past time for nourishment, so with this taken care of amidst the conversation of the trip the guys weigh the tractors and line up for the show. Your number is placed on the tractor so you know when to go. At the end of the classes either rubber or steel you will receive a trophy, belt buckle, ribbon or just maybe congratulations on being there. This being the same day we left home, we reload, line up, hit the water jugs and begin our journey home. Some hours later we are thankful for a safe trip, all the pretty trophies.
'Now we unload the tractors and the leftovers, put the vehicles away, shower and finally get to bed too tired to talk about 'Well, if I'd have done this or that I could have done better', only to remember we had fun and will plan on doing better next weekend as we again look at the schedule.'
Mrs. Broyles ended her letter with a poetic warning for other wives:
Now this is a true story for young
There is much more that I
could have told
But if you don't like tractors,
engines, fun and friendship,
Please be cautious about ever going
out on that very first trip.