My Engine Buddy

By Staff
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R. H. 'Herschel' McCann of Quincy, Ohio. My engine buddy.
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Gage Homan and his buddy, Hersch McCann, pulling his wagon at an engine show in Van Wert, Ohio.

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.

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