Sunday, March 18, 2012

North American Farm and Power Show at Owatonna

I like tractors, especially the ones I grew up driving on the farm when I was a kid. Clearly, I am not alone in this. When Lee J. Sackett displayed our 8N Ford that he restored at the North American Farm Show at Owatonna this last weekend, men and women stopped by to tell us their 8N stories. Others stopped by to compliment Lee on his fine restoration of the 8N, but explained that even though they grew up driving Allis-Chalmers or IH or John Deere or Case or MM or some other color, they enjoy the sight of an expertly restored vintage tractor of any color.  So let me say it now at the beginning of my small tribute to the show, that Lee J. Sackett and his crew do a meticulous job restoring tractors and cars. If you talk to Lee, you will readily understand that he clearly loves the process of restoration, and one has to love the process to turn out a product of great quality. If you want expertise and perfection, Lee and his crew will get you as close as humanly possible.
8N Ford, Lee Sackett, and me (Lee is the tall, good-looking one)

Lee generously allowed Nancy and me to share his booth as the owners of the 8N, and he insisted we display our books and offer them for sale during the show.  You can see them in the display in front of the 8N. It turned out to be a good fit. The 8N was not only a kid magnet, as you see in the pictures below, but also a draw for adults who find themselves drawn to farm heritage, which is the focus of all of our books. Consequently, Nancy and I were treated to discussions with lots of men and women who had stories to tell and history to share. It was a fun weekend for us, and I got to sign some books too. Let me say the rest with photos:

A young lady, who clearly looked 10 years too young to be a grandmother, appeared with two of her grandchildren and she proclaimed, "My grandchildren love books!"
I replied, "This is something about which to be very proud." Look at these children!
This young child grabs one of my books off the rack, sits down, and pages through it with a reverence  that reflects a real love for books. Sure, I'm proud that he seems to like my books, but I'm more humbled at his learned behavior. When I was his age I was probably chewing on books, not carefully paging through them. The parents and grandparents of this lad should be proud because this is learned behavior. They taught him well.
With the help of his grandma, the young man and his older sister climb onto the 8N for a photo opp.
I think the older sister will have great fun reading stories to little brother. Think of how this reading relationship will accelerate their learning in school!! Grandma's efforts here, will pay off in huge dividends for the rest of the children's lives. And she seems to have so much fun doing it.
Looking at If I were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure.

During the three-day show, Nancy and I had quite a bit of time to talk to Lee, and we enjoyed "hanging out" with him. Even though we were "old guys," he seemed to enjoy it as well. Also, he was generous and bought a set of our books for his three daughters. When we delivered the books to him on Friday, his eldest daughter Karrin was with him and started reading the books. Seriously, the below picture is not posed, but could it be any cuter?
Karrin Sackett, Lee and Shannon's oldest daughter.
She changed positions a couple of times.
Exchanging stories with an experienced farmer

New position and different book for Karrin
Me posing with Gordy Spinler, one of Lee's men who worked on the 8N.
Sure, he got paid, but it was more than money that drove him to produce the fine result.

We met Cory Pumper at Farmfest in 2010 where he bought his daughter Emily If I were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure. When they visited the show on Thursday, Emily picked out another story, If I Were a Farmer: Tommy's Adventure. She seems pretty happy about it as she poses with me in the photo above.

Another young person who recognized us remembered me from a show I did at Sherburn Elementary School in 2010 when he was in  the fourth grade. Pictured with me above, Tristan Rabbe, who is now a 12-year-old sixth grader, stopped by to talk for a few minutes. Tristan says he likes antiques, but his favorite items to collect are coins. Thanks for stopping by to visit, Tristan! A visit from a young person
always makes my day.

Chad, another of Lee's guys who worked on my 8N, stopped to say hello. 
Gary was there the first day but we didn't get a photo (sorry Gary) and we met Lee's parents and brother who visited with us too.

Tom Broadbent, a very talented writer and composer we met last year at the MEMO Conference in St. Cloud, recognized us and stopped to visit. His new work Deal! The Musical will be running at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis from April 20 through May 6, 2012. Since this is a world premier, Nancy and I plan to see it for sure. The show traces the ups and downs of a farm family as they play their monthly poker game with each other. The events in the play are based on his relatives. Sounds fascinating.

I feel privileged to sign books for people of all ages who are interested in Farm Heritage and passing it on the the next generation.

Nancy and I pose for a photo at Lee's booth

Thanks again to Lee Sackett for doing such a fine job restoring our 8N Ford and for inviting us to share his booth. 
Next weekend at the Home and Garden Show (Friday 3-8PM, Saturday 9AM-5PM, Sunday 11AM-4PM), Lee will have a booth at the same building, the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna, where he and his workers will actually be assembling an 8N during the show. Sounds like a real draw!
Our 8N will be displayed too, and Nancy and I will be there to sell and sign books, as well. Hope to see you there.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson


  1. I love to see the enthusiasm for reading like that in the children you featured here. I am a firm believer that being an avid reader leads to success in school.

    Also, that play, Deal! The Musical, interests me. If you attend, promise to write a review. I'd like to hear your opinion.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is fun to see the kids grab books and read them.When I do shows for kids in the seventh and eighth grades, I like to stress that they can have fun and do a great deed for their little brothers and sisters by reading to them. My sisters read to me when was a kid and I know their actions contributed to my becoming a reader and book-lover.
      Regarding the musical "Deal" I will most certainly dedicate a blog to it. The author, Tom Broadbent, and I have discussed his working with me on a musical of my Farm Country Tales series. Writing it remains an ultimate goal for me, but it will be a while before it is foremost on my agenda.

    2. This would be a fantastic opportunity, Gordon, and I could easily envision your Farm Country Tales as a successful musical. Let me know "when" (not "if") this happens. You and Nancy deserve an opportunity like this.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Audrey. I received an email from a kindergarten teacher at Gideon Pond Elementary asking to schedule a visit in May, and she told me that the students are preparing a musical called "A Farmer's Life" some time in May. Hope I can get to see it! I told her of my plans for a musical, explaining that it might be ready when those students are in high school.