This is a post from my sister, Mary, who joins me here on the blog a few times a month!
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This past weekend was a fall favorite in our little town here in the shadow of the Allegheny Mountains. It is one of those annual events that you just don't miss. The kind that stirs up all kinds of gratitude for the sweet little all-American town that you live in. Known as the Steam and Craft show, it is in its 38th year of existence. Don't let the "steam" or the "craft" really throw you. It is mostly about tractors. Tractors and more tractors. Of all ages, types, and conditions. And the people that love them, young and old.
Now there are a few of the big, ancient steam tractors, with the ear piercing whistles and their slow, steady crawl.
There are the expertly refurbished models. With a gleam and shine that indicate they will never see the field again.
And then there are the ones waiting to be refurbished. But appreciated all the same.
There are ones with faces and names.
But the "craft" portion translates into a shopping experience that can't be duplicated. As a kid, I remember saving my money to buy a baseball tshirt with a glittery Apaloosa horse decal on the front. It is a mixed bag. Pillows and purses alongside fuel filters and pitchforks. The choices of snaps and hooks was a bit overwhelming, to say the least.
Oh, and dental picks! Hemastats! At great prices!
It is a time to walk among the tractors, to study and appreciate them, to be grateful for the years of service they have given, to reminisce about the ones that used to be on the family farm. An entire weekend to talk tractor.
While the lower field is full of tractors, more activity awaits at the top of the field. Pies are being sold, apple butter is churning. The secret recipe, a local stew, is being served piping hot from a large black kettle. Homemade potato chips, kettle corn. Greasy grub off the grill being served up by the school's athletes and their families.
The culmination of the first day is the parade. It really is my favorite part. Led by the middle and high school bands and the mayor, the tractors all fire up and are driven by their owners right down Main Street. It is a chance to see them with their owners, and families. In all their glory. If the original owner is too frail to drive, they may be pulled behind on a wagon, comfortably seated on a lawn chair or even a sofa. Or if the owner is too young to drive her pink tractor, her Dad will help out, and will be manly enough to drive a pink tractor through town.
While my education and life experiences have taken me far away from my little hometown in the past, it is times like this that I am especially glad I am here. I feel like I stop and realize, just for a second, that this is my town right now. My people. And I am proud of it all.