In my very first column in Gas Engine Magazine, back in the April/May 2012 issue, I expressed my feelings of awe toward the welcoming spirit of the antique gas engine community. The members are always willing to take the time to explain processes, share information and give helpful advice. I knew this at the time I wrote the column (thanks to my years of copy editing for GEM), but I had only scratched the surface. I don’t think I could have grasped just how deep this spirit runs until it became such an ingrained part of my day-to-day life.
My second column expressed thanks for the patience shown to me by the community. Contributors eagerly answering my multiple phone calls for clarification; Editor-in-Chief Richard Backus calmly helping clean up my inadvertent messes.
It’s been more than two years and I’m still reminded of these admirable characteristics on a daily basis. I get emails and calls seeking help, and if I can’t answer the question there is a network of people I can refer to, knowing they’ll have the answer and they’ll gladly share their knowledge. I have contributors who don’t lose patience after my fifth email. Groups of friends at shows who make room for me at supper and share without hesitation, making shows so much more than gatherings and so much more like reunions.
The community took me in, welcomed me, gave me an education and didn’t ask for much back. And I couldn’t be more thankful.
But sometimes change comes and you have to ride the wave, and sometimes that wave takes you places you hadn’t expected. The first one brought me here. The latest one is taking me away.
While it’s taking me away, I know it’s not the end of old iron in my life. I’ll still see old Rumelys on the side of the road and slow down to get a better look. I’ll hear of an old iron show and insist that my friends and I attend. I’ll still keep an eye on what engines Coolspring has recently acquired.
I know Gas Engine Magazine will continue being the great resource it’s always been. Under Richard’s leadership, new associate editor Matt Kelly (who’s been working at the magazine for awhile now) will take the reins and dive into the community, just like I did.
And I know the community will welcome him with open arms. You’ll be there to explain processes, share information and give helpful advice, as you always have.
So, thank you for the education. Not just in old iron, but in patience, kindness and perseverance. Here’s to many more years of engine finds, restorations and triumphs.
Beth Beavers was the associate editor at Farm Collector and Gas Engine Magazine. Find her on Google+.