You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

[Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet]


Over a decade ago, I spent four years editing and producing a magazine for an antique farm equipment association. Half of the content was about steam traction engines. Interest in this topic is world-wide and I received a magazine from England about steam engines in Great Britain. It included information about steam rallies in the British Isles — gatherings similar to the many tractor shows held in the U.S. I joked that, someday, I’d go to one of those steam rallies. I wasn’t really serious since I couldn’t imagine actually traveling to the United Kingdom, especially since it meant flying on an airplane.

Not long ago, my oldest daughter and her husband moved to Wales. Shortly after, they had a baby so I got up my courage and we went for a visit. My daughter’s mother-in-law, Jane, met the plane, showed us a bit of London and drove us to Newport, Wales. Our days were a flurry of sightseeing — Roman ruins, castles, canal boats, ships, museums. One morning, Jane announced that she and I were going someplace special. We drove through the Welsh countryside to a charming town named Abergavenny. I smelled coal smoke and commented that someone must have fired up a steam engine. I was right. She took me to the Annual Abergavenny Steam Rally. It was wonderful — a hesitant dream come true.

What touched me the most? A lady I barely knew spent her morning taking me to ooh and ah over spectacular steam engines at a country fair. In addition to seeing my daughter and holding my new grandson, Jane’s thoughtfulness was one of my best memories of that trip.