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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Small Town Explosion

During Labor Day weekend, our quaint little town of 8700 people expands to over 80,000 people for the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion. It's basically a bunch of hick farmers and hilbillies getting together to look at antique tractors and threshers which are steam powered machines that are used to thresh wheat.

This has been going on for over 50 years and the same people come back year after year to see their friends and to see all these old tractors. There's a big parade of old tractors starting on Wednesday, then daily at noon they all get together and blow off their steam whistles. First of all I don't understand why so many people want to come back year after year for the same thing. Nothing ever changes. I mean, how can you add a new antique tractor? "Oh, look I just found this years edition of the old tractors." Uh, I don't think so. At least at a car show you get new things, here... same old rusty tractors year after year after year.

But, that's my smallest complaint. I don't get it, I don't go to it. Said and done. BUT, what I really am growing to dislike is when our town grows in population by 1000% in one weekend. I know 80K doesn't seem like a lot of people, but think about it in proportion. What Chicago be like with a 1000% increase. 2.9 million would become 29 million or New York 7.3 mil becomes 73 mil. Gridlock galore! Big cities at least have the road systems to handle heavy traffic. Our 4 stoplights and one stop sign aren't exactly up to code for this. I've heard more sirens and seen more accidents this weekend than in the last 6 monts here. Probably because all these rural hicks haven't driven on a road with more than 6 vehicles on it (one of which is a combine) at a time since last Labor Day.

The icing on the cake was as I drove in to town yesterday after we went Burlington for some shopping, I saw smog over the town. Okay, maybe not bonafide smog, but it was a definate heavy cloud over the Old Threshers area caused by all the coal / wood burning steam engines. If I wanted to see that I'd move to Phoenix. At least I get Monday off from work and may get to hear the Lonestar concert as it echoes across town tonight.