FIRST THINGS

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Jason B. HarmonJason B. Harmon

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Nothing makes my job more interesting than my day-to-day contact with the colorful characters who read Farm Collector.

Our readers are kind folks who are always willing to share a story about life on the farm. For example, I recently spoke with Patrick 'Quint' Cusack from Muir, Mich.

The son of Irish immigrants and one of 14 children, the 84-year-old farmer still owns the land his grandfather first tilled in 1856.

'It's important to keep it in the family,' Quint explains.

Unlike many farm families that eventually abandoned the land for urban pursuits, Quint is intimately connected to his family's home stead. He even sleeps in the same room in which he was born.

Quint shared a few tales about his days as a young man helping the threshing crews work the fields around his family farm. He enthusiastically told each story, and remembers details as if the events happened yesterday rather than nearly 80 years ago.

Like many hardworking farm boys, Quint says he learned the value of a quarter the hard way.

One year, Quint recalls, he hired on as a hand for the local threshing crew. The head of the threshing crew agreed to give Quint 25 cents for a day's labor. When the grain was bagged at the end of the day, Quint got an unwelcome surprise when he tried to collect his due. The thresherman refused to pay Quint his wage as promised. When young Quint ran crying to his father about the sour deal, his dad shook his head and said, 'That'll teach you to get it in writing next time.'

Yet, not all the lessons Quint learned in the field were so painful. For instance, another thresherman he worked for was also a minister, who preached to the children as they worked. 'The old ways are good to look back at,' Quint says with an obvious sense of contentment.

Luckily for us, Quint put some of his recollections on paper, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Farm Collector.

Without Quint - and thousands of other dedicated readers - stories from those days gone by would be forever lost. As the modern world continues to obscure the past, the need to collect and preserve such tales for future generations is more important than ever.

Jason B. Harmon, Editor jharmon@ogdenpubs.com