Miss Stover And I

| December/January 1988

P.O. Box 703, Delta, Colorado 81416. 

My love of old engines began as a child. Growing up on my father's farm, I learned to love the sound of them.

Down through the years, I had gotten myself a couple of these engines to add to my pile. I was always on the lookout for more, and one day in 1978 I found my engine as I was going up the river to my boyhood home. I saw this big old Stover engine just sitting on the hillside. I ran my boat to shore and ran up the hill for a better look, I could hardly believe my eyes. With a few minor repairs, I could get her running again. But the people who owned the cattle ranch on which she sat were impossible to reach by phone or in person. I even offered a finder's fee of $100.00.

The years went by and I still was no closer in getting my Stover than before. In 1984, I got myself a new wife and she was telling me she had been to see Mrs. L. Smith. I began to talk like a crazy man. But then she told me how the men who owned the ranch didn't like to come to town. We would have to wait to see them.

Finally, they said they would talk to me at a favorite grandchild's piano recital. God, what next! I had never been to a piano recital in my life, but there is a first time for everything.  

The deal was made, but to get this engine off the hillside would take lots of planning. The range cows would have to be moved. A cantankerous caretaker and his dogs that looked like big bears would have to come and let us in the gate. A river would have to be crossed (I didn't have a boat any more). The railroad would have to be tied up. Would I even be able to get this engine down?