Dear Willie


| June/July 1986



This letter was sent to us by J. E. Pierce, 171 Aspen Drive, Durango West #2, Durango, Colorado 81301. It was sent by one of the members of the Durango Antique Power Association to President Willie Heyen for the club's newsletter. It should be enjoyable to readers of GEM.

Dear Willie:

You asked me at the last meeting if I had an interesting story to send so you could send it out to the club members. Well, I've just told this story twice before and swore I'd never tell it again on account of the ridicule and haws-haws I got. But since I joined the old engine club and kind a know some of the members I know they would believe me. Knowing that members of old antique engine clubs are truthful and are accustomed to how old engines operate and how old men remember back over old times, I gave a lot of thought about what happened to me and an old engine.

It was in the spring of 1946 that all this happened I had just come home from the service and thought I'd spend a while with my mom and pop before I went out to get a job. Well, I'll never forget that cold spring morning. Pop said, 'Son we ort to go down and help old man Coberly fix his harness.' Old man Coberly was up in his 80's and Pop was about the only man in that neck of the woods that had any tools for harness fixin'. So we gathered up the anvil and punches and hammers and went down to the old man's house.

Anyway I'm getting a little off of the story I wanted to tell. But while we was down there old man Coberly sent me out to the barn to get some spare leather and some extra tugs. By golly out there in the corn crib was an old gas engine I can't remember the name on it but it was an old one. So before we left that evening I asked the old man if he'd sell that engine. Well, the old man never liked me very much on account of the time me and some other boys snow-balled his old Model-T when he went by the school-house. I remember it splattered up his windshield so bad that he run off in the ditch right there in front of the school. Well, they never did pin it on me but he always knew I was one of the boys who almost caused him to wreck his car.

But back to the engine Pop heard me ask him if he'd sell it. I saw Pop give me the eye to shut up, so I did. Pop knew the old man wouldn't sell that engine to me anyway. So goin' home I asked Pop why he wanted me to shut up. He said, 'Son, I know where they an old engine older than old man Coberly's, if it's still there.'' I thought that was a funny way of put-tin' I the knew where it was if it was still there. Well anyway, Pop said that he remembered an old engine that was in the sheep shed at old Uncle John James chat's down close to the Missouri River there in Missouri.