Noel, Missouri, 64854
As we grow older and are retired, and we now have time on our hands to while away, it is only natural that our minds go back to the good old days of steam threshing, which seemed more like annual reunions or picnics, usually lasting ten days to two weeks. It was an occasion or event when neighbors helped neighbors to make up a crew of eighteen to twenty-two men. Usually at each new set, one or more were dropped and others added. It was a continuous cycle until the entire community was completed.
The work was dirty and the days were hot and long. However, when the crews were well co-ordinated and the engine, thresher and grain were in perfect condition, the rhythmic puffing of the engine and the humming of the thresher was soothing music to a person's ears. They looked forward to the mid-morning lunch that would tide them over until the whistle blew for the bounteous noon day feast or banquet. They ate with gusto or until they could not hold another bite.
After dinner the crew would soon settle down to a rapid steady pace, to accomplish as much as possible, knowing that they would be brought a mid-after-noon lunch to tide them over until the evening whistle would signal the close of the day and the evening meal or feast. Everyone was tired and ready to hit the hay, bunk or bed for a good nights rest.
The threshing season was also a feast or banquet for the wives. They had their plans made or menus prepared for each day. And their work was from early morning until late at night. Their day was longer than the men's, with no time during the day for rest. They worked from fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Each one tried to outdo the others and dug deep into their larders for good inviting food. The women were highly praised for their accomplishments as cooks. Some of the larger threshing rigs had cooks and cook shacks as a part of the outfit, thereby eliminating the drudgery from the farmer's wives.
With the advent of the many small tractors and trucks, came the small or individual size threshers, which greatly reduced the size of the threshing crew. In many cases the larger grain grower had sufficient man-power for a crew and no outside help was needed. This eliminated the feasts and banquets.
After that came the combines, and only two men for the crew. One to operate the combine and the other to haul the grain. Operating the combine is hard work, a lonely life and when necessary, he can eat a sandwich and drink his coffee on the go. He stops only to oil and grease the combine, fill the tractor or combine engine with gas, oil and water, and unload the grain into the truck.
Driving the truck is a mental strain as he never knows how long he must wait at the elevator to unload, or if he will be back in time to unload the combine. In some cases it is necessary to have two trucks to avoid delays.
Combines are in the now. A letter to the company will bring a catalog with illustrated pictures and detailed information on both the pull type and self-propelled combines.
By Walter R. Arndt, Noel, Missouri, 64854
A long time ago, country stores, with their pot belly stoves, were the favorite places for the country folks to assemble in the evenings, to smoke, chew tobacco, spit and tell tall tales to see who was the champion story teller.
Mr. Whopper, living along the railroad track, told about his calf running the freight trains. As he grew older and in size, he naturally gained speed to the extent that he could outrun the passenger train. Mr. Whopper told this so often that, he himself, began to believe it to be true. The other men were certain the passenger train was faster than the steer, made up a purse and made a bet with Mr. Whopper. Also made an appointment for a committee to be at his place the next morning to see the race.
Later that evening Mr. Whopper told his wife the predicament he was in and asked for her advice. After thinking it over for a while, she suggested, in the morning he take the steer and they both hide in the machine shed, that she would take care of the situation when the committee arrived.
As was planned the committee arrived on schedule and informed Mrs. Whopper their reason for being there. She said she was sorry, but Mr. Whopper went to Kansas City early that morning for some badly needed steam engine repairs but that he would be back in time for the race. However, if the repairs were not available in Kansas City, he would go onto the factory in Racine, Wisconsin. In that case he would be home in time for supper.
The committee knowing the trip could not be made in such a short time, inquired if he went in his OX-Jenny Airplane. Her reply was that the plane was too slow, that he rode the bull. The committee was astonished, amazed, and aghast and on their way back to the store conceded that Mrs. Whopper was the champion story teller and awarded her the bet money.
News of Mrs. Whopper's success spread to all country stores in a large area. Many letters came with donations enclosed to buy the steer for an open-pit barbecue and every one be invited to attend the gala festivity to honor Mrs. Whopper.
Later the teeth of the steer were made into a necklace and the hide into a laprobe. They were presented to Mrs. Whopper at a later meeting, of the committees of the many country stores.