I spent the last two weekends at The Great Oregon Steam-Up, which takes place at Antique Powerland just north of Salem, Oregon. Antique Powerland is a living history museum that as its name implies is a celebration of antique power tools. The Steam-Up is Powerland’s big event each year where there are lots of deminstrations of outdated power tools at work. Given my husbands obsession with all forms of rusty metal, he loves it at Powerland and has worked his way to the top of the Steam Feind totem pole.
During the Steam-Up my husband’s primary responsibility was helping to run the steam powered threshing demonstrations. He also took part in the organization of the traditional tractor pull (where people step onto the sled as it moves by to add a progressive weight). The only official job I have at the Steam-Up is helping to run the kid’s peddle pull (where kids ride a peddle tractor attached to a progressive sled and win prizes for peddling the farthest). I tend to like kids a lot more than manual labor.
The Steam-Up is fairly entertaining for an couple hours, but there aren’t very many people who feel the need to camp out all weekend for two weekends in a row. Only the true die hards reach that level of insanity. Somehow, I’ve made my way into that circle of steam powered fanatics. The question I can’t help asking myself is how did I get there? I tend to shy away from all forms of manual labor. Learning how to opporate a steam powered sawmill is not something on my to do list.
To make things even more unpleasent, it has been really hot in Oregon lately. Last week it made it up to 106 degrees. This makes the idea of pitching hay bails sound even less appealing. In order to escape the heat, I opted to head into Salem and watched the latest Harry Potter movie during the first Saturday of the show. When I got back, I also got a lot of crap from the hardened farm boys and steam enthusiests I left behind.
I tried to reason with them. Nobody was making them stand next to fire boxes and run steam powered machinery on a 100 degree day. That was something they chose to do. Something they wanted to do. I on the other hand, wanted to sit in an air conditioned movie theater. So that is what I chose to do. This reasoning did not decrease my biratement.
Then I made the comment that, “I really don’t like the activities down here. I just like all of you people.” When I said “you people” I meant it more as a gender nutural version of “you guys” but it launched a new discussion on how all these antique power tool fanatics had become a “you people”.
Some of them had been born into the “you people” and others had chosen to be members of the group. I on the other hand married into it. I do like the people who waist all their time climbing around on 100 year old farm equipment – a lot. I don’t have a problem with my husband being one of them. I just don’t want to join them myself. When the activity at hand is manual labor, I’m just never going to be a “you people”. I’m way to lazy for that sort of thing. I am glad that I was born at the end of the 20th century, and I enjoy things like air conditioned movie theaters.