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I’m writing this the day before the second presidential debate, because I’m just tired of this mess. The campaigning for this election has gone on much too long. In fact, I’m so tired of politicians that I’ve decided to get rid of my entire political campaign button collection plus other political memorabilia. I was going to haul them over to the auction house but then on Sunday we went to visit Warren Paulson. Many of you have probably visited the wonderful museum that he and his wife Helen created of mostly antique machinery. However, they have other antiques in the museum as well and while “The Farmer,” Warren and I were talking I asked Warren if he would like my political button collection. I told him I thought I had more than 400 hundred buttons and maybe more. I also told him of the letters from President Reagan, Gov. Jim Thompson and some other of interest. Warren said he could easily add the buttons to the museum and he would have a sign made that showed we had donated them. We went to visit Warren in his home where he was recovering from a heart attack. He is 90 years old and I didn’t know if he would recognize us so I brought along the latest Illinois Agri-News. He took one look at the paper and said, “You’ve been doing that a long time” as I showed him the column. I called on Helen and Warren in their little old shop where they sold Badger farm equipment some 38 years ago. I did their advertising for equipment. It was around the time when my mother had yet another stroke that left her needing assistance. Helen and I talked about the importance of a house and bathroom facilities being wheelchair-friendly. Helen and Warren built a beautiful new house some 30 years ago and when I questioned Warren about the wheelchair and walker he was using and about the bathrooms, he said Helen had designed the house and made both bathrooms wheelchair-friendly. I smiled inwardly because I remembered how Helen and I talked about my mother and her needs as she became more dependent. Helen died a couple of years ago as did their only son. It was after that when Warren pushed in earnest to have one of the surrounding cities take over the beautiful museum. Many times we would take foreign agricultural groups to tour what was then just old sheds full of clean and organized antique machinery. The big busses could hardly make it in the narrow mouth of the drive and I kept after Warren to widen the drive. Plus, we always had to feed a big busload of people once they were there and we started out serving in Warren’s little shop. Before the busload of visitors from many places around the world would arrive, I’d push away the grease rags, put the blow torches under the workbench, move any and all machinery that Warren was working on so we could set up tables and chairs enough for about 40 people. I stuffed pop in the old refrigerator, put red, white and blue paper tablecloths on the tables and made room for the serving table with the big old whole roasted hog that was decorated with parsley and marigolds around his neck, a big red apple in his mouth and two little red potatoes for eyes. It was “Americana” at its best. However, I kept telling Warren he needed to put in a stove, running water, and this and that. And that is what Warren and Helen did. They built a big heated building with serving facilities and a place nice enough and big enough, fully equipped to have a barn dance, a wedding reception, an auction and on and on. A beautiful tribute to both Helen and Warren and I’m so excited I will be able to contribute my political button collection. Last week on my way home one day, I stopped by an estate sale and viewed collections of salt and pepper shakers, puzzles, beautiful chinawear and so much more that people had collected. The collections were all for sale but no one was buying. It was then I got thinking about my political collection and what to do with it. Because Warren had been under the weather and I thought we needed to visit him, I never connected my political buttons to our visit. But low and behold, I ended up with a good solution for political buttons that will tell a bit of history. Isn’t life strange? Ciao!
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