This Old Farm: A Treasury of Family Farm Memories
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"... hearts, half-moons, diamonds ... These might seem to be very inadequate, since they might only indicate in which wall the door is located," he observes. But, he continues with some understatement, "That fact is important to know."
The backbreaking labor of harvest is recounted in two passages. A.C. Wood's contribution recalls the old-time harvest field, from the era of scythes to early self-binding reapers. The second piece is an excerpt from Robert Amerson's fictionalized memoir, From the Hidewood: Memories of a Dakota Neighborhood, in which a classic "coming of age" parable is set against a backdrop of threshing rigs and tractors.
The farm wife – and children – are not excluded from this collection. "A Patchwork Quilt of Farm Living" draws us into the kitchen, where unending toil produced culinary treats that can only be dreamed of today. Sara De Luca pens vivid memories of domestic chores in "The Polk County Homewreckers." The prospect of the weekly Laundry Day, she writes, was enough to direct her toward city life.
"If I ever did become a married gal, I wouldn't be wrestling with wood stoves and wringer washing machines. No, I'd be one of those modern types featured in the Ladies' Home Companion. I could picture myself already, wearing city suits, high-heeled shoes, and little white gloves, waving at my gleaming appliances as I danced out the door."
But when it comes to grumbling about farm life, things are not always what they seem, says Gordon Green in "The Time I Quit Farming." Even a contrary son, he says, qualifies his gripes.
"I never did say that I didn't like farming," the son asserts. "It was just that I didn't like the way we were doing it here and now."
This Old Farm is tied up neatly at the end, with an accounting by Patricia Penton Leimbach, a writer in the style of Erma Bombeck. Just as Roger Welsch notes in his foreword that farmers are torn by their love for the farm, and their frustrations with it, Leimbach makes a careful accounting of the farm's challenges and rewards. The latter she finds in abundance.
"... sunrise over the valley about 300 times (no failure with the sun; I was absent a few times)... sons coming in to supper from working with their father ... impromptu visits with neighbors: total value: incalculable." FC
This Old Farm: A Treasury of Family Farm Memories, Voyageur Press, 1999; ISBN 0-89658-411-9; 160 pages.
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