Ruth and I spent the past weekend in Dyersville, Iowa, at the National Farm Toy Collector’s convention, where I signed books and talked tractors for three days. Talked mostly about old tractors, Farmall H’s (which I grew up with) and Farmall M’s, John Deere A’s and B’s, and the lesser models-- Oliver and Allis Chambers (Ruth grew up with an Allis), Minneapolis-Moline and Massey-Harris, Case and Cockshutt.
Talked about the days in farming when tractors were small, as were the farms. Talked with a few old guys about driving horses and the transition from horses to tractors, not as easy as one might think.
Lots of grandparents toting grandkids. The grandkids excited to see all the farm toys to play with. And the kids’ parents remembering their childhoods because these farm toys were symbols of their early history on the farm, and triggers for stories.
Lots of stories at the toy show, coming from every direction, from all parts of the country from the north and south, and many from the Midwest, of course. Stories about growing up on a farm. Stories about first tractors. Stories about why the Farmall was better than the John Deere, or the other way around. Lots of friendly joshing about these matters that, at one time, were taken very seriously by farmers proud of their iron horses, as the early tractors were called.
Now it’s back to work, back to writing stories.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: There are never too many stories.
November 12, Barnes and Noble, Racine, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
November 14, Elmbrook Historical Society annual meeting and dinner. 5:45. Horses and Barns (For Elmbrook Historical Society members and guests.)
December 3, Fireside Books, West Bend. 11:00 a.m. Celebrating 12 years of speaking/signing at Fireside books. Campfires and Loon Calls—travels in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Also featuring Agriculture history books, fiction and nonfiction.
December 7, Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 7:00 p.m. Max Kade Institute. Stories from Wisconsin: Germans, Beer and Prohibition.
December 10, Sheboygan Falls Library, 9:30 a.m.: A brief history of Wisconsin Agriculture.