Back in the spring we learned about a festival going on in Gold Hill from our neighbor Clifford, who was taking a lot of his old machinery down to put on display. I'm not sure what the official title of this festival was, so I'm calling it the historical festival. Lining the main street in Gold Hill were tons of old fashioned cars, and there were the usual booths with food and vendors.
Clifford is an old school sort of fellow, who still carries much of the knowledge from before the modernization of our culture, and he very much loves to share with younger folks about how it used to be. He has a huge collection of old tractors, cars, and farm equipment, as well as horse drawn buggies, all of which he maintains and keeps running. I hope to do an entire piece on his collection, his work, and his philosophy before too long.
The display that Clifford was part of was the most interesting part of the day for me, where he and other enthusiasts for old machinery demonstrated how people used to do things like grind grains, pump water, or wash clothes. Set up in front of the history museum, they had interactive exhibits where kids could use some of the old homestead tools.
I also enjoyed spending some time perusing the museum, looking at historical photos of the area and learning about some of the homestead families who first came to Oregon a century and half ago, the descendants of whom are still living here, in many cases. Over by the library we stopped over to listen to the fiddlers club play some old fashioned music, and we were pleased to see a book sale going on in the library. We stopped in and learned that if we bought a book-carrying bag for twelve dollars we could fill it with as many books as we could fit into it for no additional charge. So we loaded up! We got mostly kids books, but I found a book by James Clavell that I haven't read yet, and the best score of the day was a very old complete set of Mark Twain's works, in hardback.
History is a very important thing to study, I think, for if we ever hope to create a new culture, we must know the story of where we have come from. Even the darker aspects of our history that we wish we could forget are important to understand, and many aspects of history, like old homesteading skills and analog machinery, are essential for moving forward with a new way of life. So celebrate history, and read an old fashioned, printed book sometime! Visit your local library and local history museums, and speak with the elders (who still remember the old ways) before they're all gone.