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Meet authors in two local events

August 28, 2009
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald
Threshers Reunion book authors at Toledo Library - Authors J.O. Parker and Debbie Tindle Parker will be at the Toledo Public Library on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of both of their books. They have announced the recent release of their second book, Family Reunion: Midwest Old Threshers.

Whether visitors enjoy watching the tractors putt down the lane, hearing the toot of the steam engines, being “robbed” on the train or gliding back in time on the trolley, they will enjoy the more than 200 color photographs that Family Reunion: Midwest Old Threshers has to offer. They will remember the good old days while enjoying photos of the historic carousel, saloon singers, antique cars, horses, small gas engines, museums, sawmill, Log Village, stationary steam engines and daily Cavalcade of Power.

Also sprinkled throughout the book are stories about those who bring their treasures to display and volunteers who help make it a fun, family reunion.

J.O. Parker is the editor of the Poweshiek County CR. He has won numerous awards from the Iowa Newspaper Association for both his writing and his photography. J.O. is a native of Tulsa, Okla. and a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia. Debbie Tindle Parker is an Iowa native and a graduate of Montezuma High School and Central College in Pella. She has had fiction, non-fiction and poetry published in Julien’s Journal, a regional magazine based in Dubuque.

Iowa railroad history at Tama County Museum -Denny Rehder,Des Moines, will present his program on Iowa railroad history, "Grass Between the Rails," at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Tama County Museum in Toledo. Rehder is a native of Gladbrook.

His performance is free and open to the public, and the building is handicap-accessible. He created this program as an official Iowa Sesquicentennial event in 1996.

His appearances around the state have been funded by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities ever since. Rehder has been a musician all his life. He has combined that ability with his love of Iowa history to produce "Grass Between the Rails," a celebration of Iowa's railroad heritage in words and original music. His songs cover the gamut of Iowa railroad history from the race for Council Bluffs to the Burlington Zephyr. Through his music, he visits the worst wreck ever, Iowa's best-known railroad hero, the road through Paradise, the one elephant circus and his family's ties to the Illinois Central.

He has been involved in the publication of eight books on Iowa history. Four were published by his own Waukon & Mississippi Press, including his first book, "Grass Between the Rails," the history of the Waukon, Iowa, branch of the Milwaukee Road. He also wrote and published "The Shampoo King," the history of the F. W. Fitch Company and the famous Fitch Bandwagon radio show.

Now retired, he has been a professional writer and photographer for more than fifty years. His work has received local, regional and national awards. Rehder grew up on a farm near Gladbrook, on the Chicago Great Western mainline, between Marshalltown and Waterloo.


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