Illustration: From October, 1951, the Lazy Farmer reads a letter from Mirandy.
The little Song of the Lazy Farmer verses appeared in weekly farm papers, such as The Ohio Farmer, for at least two decades from the 1930s until the 1950s. Here are three of the later ones.
In one from October, 1951, he writes:
Mirandy’s gone a-visitin’, she’s checking on her city kin; she wants to meet the new in-laws, she thinks that she can find the cause why Uncle Louie left his wife, she’ll have the best time of her life a-chuckin’ babies ‘neath the chin; and then she’s bound to start right in to tell each mamma what to do when junior starts to fret and stew. She’ll turn her personality on ev’ryone that she can see; “Why Susan!” she’ll say, “you’ve got thin!” and Uncle George will start to grin when he is told he’s handsomer than Peck and Gable ever were.
But that same personality don’t show much when she writes to me. Today’s note, for example, had just four lines, all of which sound mad. “I’ll bet,” it started out, “that you have not found time as yet to do one thing that’s on the list you’ve got, and I imagine, like as not you’re spending all your time in town a-chinnin’ with that jerk, Joe Brown!” And then she adds, “I’d better plan to come home sooner if I can.” You’d think, at least, she’d ask me how my rheumatiz’ is feelin’ now; well, I’ll write back that all’s okay, and maybe she’ll decide to stay.
In August, 1951, the Lazy Farmer discusses pollsters in his usual style:
For years I’ve thought the folks who take opinion polls were mostly fake, because they’d never questioned me and no one else that I could see. I’ve been right here most ev’ry day and always glad to have my say, but no poll man’s been smart enough to give me chance to strut my stuff. This oversight, of course, explains why polls have had such growing pains; no one can find out what is so unless he asks the folks who know; however scientific he attempts to make his survey be, his poll’s results will never do unless he talks to me and you.
Today, at last, a pollster came, but it turned out to be the same because right off, he asked my view on what the U.N. ought to do; but after I had spent an hour upon my answer, he looked sour and put a little check mark there inside the “undecided” square. That leaves me right where I began, I don’t see how a feller can expect to find out much at all when he has so much nerve and gall that he won’t try to analyze an answer that’s both right and wise. If that’s how he treats all smart men, his poll’s sure to be wrong again.
Finally, this appeared in July of 1954:
No matter how much happiness or satisfaction we possess, each human has at least one peeve ‘bout which he dearly loves to grieve. The nicest guy you’ve ever seen, with gentle and unruffled mien, will show an apoplectic stripe when he discusses his pet gripe. With some, it’s politicians who don’t see things quite the way they do; for others, it might be the clime that keeps ‘em stirred up all the time; some folks are members of the class which gets aroused ‘bout Johnson grass, and then there’s those who blow their tops when bugs start chewing on their crops.
Such minor things do not succeed in causing me to go off of my feed; my disposition’s so sublime, it takes a real serious crime to make my temper start to spoil and send my blood into a boil. My one big peeve, which really galls, is that Mirandy never calls about some job she’s got for me until I’m settled ‘neath a tree or I’m just starting on my way to see how fishing is today. If she’d just warn me in advance, then I would have a fighting chance to plan an early-morning flight and do my loafing out of sight.
The author, whom I’ve never succeeded in identifying, didn’t write in verse as most poets do, but in prose style. Consequently, sometimes it takes a little searching to find the rhyme and the rhythm of each verse, but when that’s done, each one flows nicely.