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Wild, Wet, Windy, Wonderful and Noisy West Virginia

Author Photo
By Lucille Grimsey | Dec 1, 1998

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Rick Noll with his equipment at the Marshall County Show.
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Sid poses with his shovel.
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Buck's Ideal 'Barney,' at the Marshall County Show.
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Rick Noll's Crapper at Marshall County.

969 Iron Bridge Road Mount Joy, Pennsylvania 17552

Early in the morning of June 24,1998, Ed and I, along with our
Pekingese traveling companions Suzie and Sammy, headed west on the
Pennsylvania Turnpike. (I think we should get a ‘Frequent
Pennsylvania Turnpike Traveler Discount’ for all our trips
across the state.)

Our destination this time was Moundsville, West Virginia, where
the third Marshall County Antique Power Association Steam and Gas
Engine Show was being held. This was our first trip to this show,
and we followed instructions to Elby’s on Route 2, in
Moundsville. We turned down a lane that we were not quite sure was
correct, then looked at each other saying, ‘This must be the
way.’ But it was a little like following a trail in the
wilderness. We crossed some railroad tracks, still not sure we were
on course.

All of a sudden it was as if we had entered a new world. The
beautiful tree-lined Ohio River was on our left, and a well
manicured field, ready and waiting for show participants, on our
right. Even though it was hot, we were psyched! Everything was so
clean and pretty. Lines were neatly drawn for exhibitors and all
was ready. I could see there had been a lot of effort put into this
show.

At the back edge of the field was a cozy camping area with a
line of cotton-wood trees that provided great shade. Spaces were
equipped with electric and water. We settled in one of those
inviting spots that beckoned us to ‘come and rest awhile.’
We were warmly greeted and treated to a free lunch of bean soup and
iced tea. A little while later with the tarp up, and the dogs
napping, we sat and gazed out at the mountains on the Ohio side of
the river. Life was good little hot maybe, but good.

Suzie and Sammy had a nice little dachshund named Penny for a
neighbor. They heeded our strong suggestions that barking was not
permitted under the cottonwood trees.

Ed loves West Virginia biscuits and gravy with sausage, so he
never missed breakfast prepared by Donna Evans at headquarters.
Club members served steak, chicken and spaghetti for the main
entrees, as well as breakfast and lunch.

On Thursday, we met some local fellows we had never seen before.
One man was particularly interesting, as he told of being at the
Pittsburgh TV filming of ‘The Antique Road Show,’ which we
never miss on our local PBS station. He is a ‘steel man,’
who builds and repairs bridges.

Next of interest to me was Buck Stewart’s Ideal gas engine
named Barney. Barney is beautifully painted and restored in purple
and green. A friendly little Barney stands tall and proud on this
engine, as if to greet us with a smile. We had to smile back.

To our left was a young man, Rick Noll, from Wheeling. When Rick
unveiled his display I was so delighted. He had a Maytag washing
machine and some old Maytag oil cans. He also had a hand-powered
washing machine. It was funnel shaped on the end of a stick that
looked like a broom handle. That was ‘BMD,’ before Maytag
days. He displayed a pump which ran water through an iron vessel
painted green called a ‘crapper.’ It was from England and
actually named after its designer, Mr. Crapper. The term came to
America via our GIs who are known for telling it like it is. He had
a colorful butter churn, and a Fairbanks Morse engine attached to a
corn grinder. Hay bales were strategically placed for a good
effect. On the bales, he placed some unique antique oil and
kerosene cans, and a crate sized original old wooden box with a
Dutch lady pushing a broom. Everything was beautifully restored. I
did take pictures. Rick told me that he doesn’t go to many
engine shows but he does set up his display by a covered bridge in
the Wheeling area where there is an annual covered bridge tour. He
is a very nice young man whom I would like to adopt. The amazing
thing is that many of these lovely items came with an old house he
bought. The house was full of hidden treasures. The owner of the
house would be proud today to see the special care this young man
gives his acquired oldies.

Our friend Sid proudly displayed his newly purchased brass
shovel with ‘Valvolene’ etched on the shaft. He found this
prize at Cool Springs. It has some neat nicks on it, and Sid has it
polished and shining brightly with all its ‘battle
scars.’

Next I came to Chuck Mumper’s display, a Delco electric
power plant. Chuck invited me to sign his guest book and look at
his picture albums. He sets up his display and greets the folks as
they embark from the big river boats on the Ohio River at
Wellsburg. He showed me a picture of the very first dishwasher used
in the kitchen powered by an electric power plant.

Saturday afternoon, a young magician who was very good with
children entertained all of us.

Thursday evening, we watched the talented line dancers, and
listened to good ole barber shop singing by a local group. The
Friday and Saturday evening music had to be cut short because of
the impending storms, but the crazy auction went on until
everything was bought. Each evening the sky turned from a pale blue
into black, ominous, rolling clouds, and the rumbling thunder
sounded like a battle being fought on the other side of the
mountain, until the reality of it was overhead.

Friday I purchased a bracelet made by the Clarks’
granddaughter. It has beads strung through leather marked
‘WWJD?’ Little did I know I would be looking at that
bracelet quite seriously. WWJD stands for ‘What would Jesus
do?’ I will admit that I didn’t sleep a wink during the
storm.

Friday evening the lightning bolts came straight down from the
sky. At one time one hit and peeled the bark off a tree a few feet
from our camper that was already being pounded by hail. While I
looked at my bracelet, Little Suzie climbed up in Ed’s lap
panting and hiding her head in his neck. We weren’t sure she
would get through the evening without having a heart attack.
However, Sammy stretched out and went to sleep, a typical male,
lifting his head lightly as if somewhat annoyed when the lightning
struck nearby.

The wind blew Gary Shreve’s tarp over his trailer. In fact,
they say he tried to save it from going, but had to let go or it
would have taken him with it. Can you picture that?

Saturday night another storm came across from Ohio and the wind
blew, shaking our camper, but the lightning and thunder were not as
loud.

A side from the unusual storms we went through, this spot is a
lovely maintained park, a little ‘paradise’ set away from
the noise and the crowd.

The few of us who were left Sunday morning went to headquarters
for more of Donna’s home cooking and to say goodbye.

Shortly after that the final blow came Ed in his almost new Ford
Diesel Power Stroke had to be assisted out of his slightly
rain-soaked camping spot. He views this as a blow to his pride, but
says with a deep sigh, ‘I should have bought a
4-wheel-drive.’

Marshall County, we’ll be back again, God willing. We have
to thank Gary and his wife, Kathy, and all the members for their
hospitality, as well as their hard work. I also want to thank GOD
for keeping us all safe in the midst of the show and the
storms.

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