429 W. High Street St. Mary's, Ohio 45885
We all love 'old iron.' We love those engines, their sound, their smell, even their feel and we all love engine shows. But the thing that really makes our hobby, the glue that holds an engine show together is the people! The people are the real pleasure of the hobby. The fun of owning an engine, the real value in running an engine or telling a story is the people we share the hobby with.
A few years ago, I wrote an article about a friend, Harry Rowe, who first introduced me to machinery, taught me to appreciate engines, and to love 'old iron.'
Now I want to tell you about another friend, a friend who travels to the engine shows with me. My 'Engine Buddy.'
I think Herschel McCann was born with an oil can in his hand. Since the time he was a young boy, he hung around the flour mills, operated water wheels and ran diesels that operated line shafts that ground the flour. During World War II, Hersch served in the Navy and was in charge of the 'Engine Gang' on a ship after taking General Motors schooling on diesel engines. He has always loved old engines and did, over the years, build a fine collection of old iron.
Since the early 1970s, Hersch and I have traveled together to gas and steam, shows all over the country. We've been to Portland, Wauseon, Rushville, Sistersville, Kinzer, Urbana and London, Darke County and even Mt. Pleasant.
I like going to engine shows with Hersch because we enjoy the same things. We like steam and we like gasoline. When we hit the grounds at an engine show, we each head our own direction looking at what we want. Neither one directs or holds the other one up. Occasionally during the day we meet to discuss what we've seen what we liked. If one of us sees something the other one missed, then we go together and look at that item.
Oh yes, and when it's lunch time we always eat together. Usually a sausage sandwich or steam cooked ham and beans. There's not much we miss at an engine show and on the way home we discuss what we saw, what we liked best and we usually agree on the 'best of show' engine. Sometimes one of us finds a rare engine that we haven't seen before. We make sure the other one sees that engine before leaving the show. We have a great time together. I've learned a lot about engines over the years, going to shows with my 'engine buddy.' His 70 years of running machinery provides plenty of stories, too. About five years ago Herschel suffered a stroke. The main problem with the stroke, he was left with double vision which has affected his balance and his ability to drive. After that stroke and his recovery, we attended an engine show. But it wasn't the same. Hersch couldn't get around to see all the engines. He tired out quickly.
I suggested he buy a motorized cart and he did. The next show we went to was like old times! I couldn't keep up with him! He now goes to engine shows regularly and enjoys them as much as ever.
We have a new wrinkle, too. I have a 2 year old grandson named Gage. He loves engines and loves to go to the shows with Hersch and me. We hook his Amish-built wagon on the back of Hersch's cart and away we go.
I hope everybody has an 'engine buddy.' That's the way to enjoy the hobby.