I’m going to the miss the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion this year. Like the Iowa State Fair, the annual reunion is one of many victims of COVID-19.
Debbie, myself and our family have camped at the reunion since 2007. We enjoy everything from the free concerts and entertainment to antiquing, watching the steam engines and tractors and visiting the working exhibits.
There is also the Log Village, the barn dance, the shootouts on the steam train, riding the electric trolley, exploring the variety of vendors, riding the steam-powered carousal and taking in the evening spark show. The spark show is where two or three steam engines line up in a row and fill their fire boxes with saw dust and fire them in unison. The smoke stacks blow sparks 30 feet in the air. It’s better than most firework shows.
I always enjoy attending the Midwest Old Threshers Button Collectors Forum on Sunday morning during the reunion. Carolyn Sidebottom, an expert in button collecting, gives a nice presentation and collectors trade and sell buttons. Some go for $1 and others from the 1950s sell in the $300 range. And I can’t forget about the Methodist Church tent.
The fried chicken and meat loaf are the best!
All of this inspired the book that Debbie and I self-published on the Old Threshers Reunion in 2008.
There is so much to do and it is all family-friendly. I always tell people, don’t wear white.
I’m going to miss seeing my friend, Mr. Anderson. He always has a half a dozen boxes of postcards for me to dig through. I enjoy trading postcards with him. He’s always fair with me.
I first learned about the reunion while attending the University of Missouri-Columbia. I worked as a custodian on the campus and was cleaning an office when I found a brochure about the reunion on someone’s desk.
I made copies of the brochure and took it home. I was hooked from the beginning.
I attended my first reunion in 1999 after moving to Iowa in December 1997. I returned in 2001 and again in 2003 when my dad and his friend and former co-worker, Roger, made the 500 plus mile trek from Tulsa to Mount Pleasant to attend the reunion.
Finding a motel within 30 miles was tough, so Roger and my dad stayed in a motel in Keokuk. I went to the reunion with them on Saturday and stayed the evening with them. I had been gone from Tulsa for more than 10 years, so the trip was a bonding time for us.
A few years later, Debbie and I bought a video of the 2003 reunion and gave it to my dad for a Christmas gift. He was watching it and toward the end, saw himself in the Log Village. He always enjoyed that video.
My dad loved old steam engines and tractors. He owned a 1947 John Deere B and Farmall 130 with several implements. He purchased both tractors second hand. He tinkered with the John Deere and putted around the farm on it. He used the Farmall to brush hog at the farm. I inherited the Farmall and later sold it to collector in Oskaloosa who refurbished it. I hope to have a chance to get it back down the road.
COVID-19 has done a good job bringing cancelations, fear, uncertainty and craziness in our world. But there is one thing it can’t do – take away the memories and future dreams.
Stay positive folks, live life to the fullest, dream and keep on walking.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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