February 12, 2014


By John R. Greenwood

A coworker handed me this gift of an October 1945 copy of Country Gentleman this morning. Country Gentleman billed itself as "America's Foremost Rural Magazine." He had purchased the contents of an abandoned rental unit and he found this in one of the boxes. He knew I enjoyed old books so he asked if I'd like the magazine. I was thrilled with the gift and I assured him I could assemble a blog post from it's pages. In the process I could spread the joy of the vintage periodical with others. 

The magazine was in remarkable condition for something ten years older than me. I leafed through the fragile pages with care. The advertisements were the perfect compliment to my blog. They seemed to possess a certain simplicity. What I found most interesting was how many things advertised as, world changing discoveries in 1945, remain as, world changing discoveries in 2014. I'm sure the readers back then never realized how long lasting many of the items built in 1945 would be. Many, like the Wolverine boots above have withstood the test of time. 

I don't like being pigeon-holed as nostalgic or someone who lives in the past because quite frankly I embrace the energy of this generation and today's technology. It is the technology of today that allows me the freedom to post my work and share it all over the world. Someone on the other side of the Atlantic could be reading Raining Iguanas right this very minute. What I enjoy is the feeling I get when someone gets excited about helping you along with your dream. 

Don't you enjoy giving someone something you know they weren't expecting, and seeing the surprise on their face when they realize you were the only one paying attention. Unexpected gifts received at 6am on a Monday morning have special meaning I can assure you. This one caught me off guard and as I thumbed through it I realized it's not the love of the good old days that keeps bringing me back in time, it's the pace. No one takes the time to listen to what the other person is saying anymore. We are too busy listening to ourselves. 

We are consumed with "Look at me!" and we ignore "What's new with you?" We never really take the time to pay attention to the answer. We are already thinking of our "more interesting" reply. I'm as guilty as the next guy. I try to pay attention, but I think I could do a much better job. I think we all could. What my coworker gave me today was more than a vintage magazine. He handed me a slice of respect and friendship. He brought back the good old days by reviving the fellowship that neighbors used to share with each other. He was handing me the gift of, "sharing." I am thankful for his gesture and I will do my best to pay it forward. If you agree with my thoughts on the subject you might find great pleasure in surprising someone you know with an unexpected gift. You might just get more in return than you bargained for. 

Thanks for your gift Mr. Gas Driver 


  1. Love this! Love the magazine, love the post. I hear you and I appreciate how you have always listened to me!

  2. What a lovely gift. I also received such a wonderful gift. A good friend gave me all her Years of Organic Gardening dating back to the 50's. These magazines where better than anything on the market today.

  3. This is an excellent post -- a great suggestion to pay it forward. I have some long time friends who are now in their eighties and they taught me the meaning of listening and I mean truly listening. Perhaps at one time we all truly listened but now it is a skill that is slowly evaporating. thanks for the nice show of illustrations in your magazine. Mr Gas Driver obviously is a listener as he remembered you liked old magazines. -- barbara