They came from throughout the country, from Canada and several other countries. They gathered at Dyersville, Iowa, a little town west of Dubuque. Farmers mostly, those who still worked the land, and those who were retired but knew the stories of farming and farm life. Often three generations together, grandparents, mom and dad, and the grandkids. Looking at toy tractors and swapping “I remember when stories.” So many stories, nonstop stories from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.
I sat behind a table piled high with my books as folks stopped by to chat. Their caps identified them—John Deere, Allis Chalmers, International Harvester, Oliver. Their caps told me which tractor was their choice and the source of their stories. Their sweat shirts carried on their infatuation with a certain kind of tractor: “Real friends don’t allow their friends to drive red tractors.” (A John Deere tractor lover for those who don’t know about the friendly competition between red (International) and green (John Deere) tractors.
One little boy—lots of kids of all sizes and ages attended—wore a shirt with the words “I was born in a barn” plastered across the front.
“Were you really born in a barn?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said smiling. His mother was smiling, too.
Other sweatshirt messages: “Real men use duct tape,” “My tractor’s my first love,” and “Still plays with tractors.”
A cute little boy’s sweat shirt said: “Dirt Rocks.” Another little boy’s shirt: “I move dirt.”
Some 10,000 plus folks attended the event—most of them walked by my table at one time or another. I even signed a book or two.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Always remember, as through life you roll, to keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole.
CHECK THIS OUT: Tune in Wisconsin Public Radio on November 9, Larry Meiller show, 11:45-12:30. Discussion of my novel, Cranberry Red.
November 9, Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, 11:45-12:30, Cranberry Red.
November 13, 9:30 a.m. Sheboygan Falls Library, Horse Drawn Days.
November 16, 7:00 p.m. Reedsburg Library, Cranberry Red
December 2, 7:00 p.m. McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, Cranberry Red.
December 4, 10:30-2:30. Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts, Westby. Book signing for Barns of Wisconsin, Horse Drawn Days, and Cranberry Red.