Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff

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At the time of this writing, visions of the Thanksgiving turkey with all its trimmin'soyster dressing, mashed potatoes 'n gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with whipped cream-seems uppermost in our minds, beckoning the heralding of the happy holiday season just ahead.

I am reminded of those happy days when the whole clan congregated around the sagging festive board at Grandma's, down the street and 'round the corner. There was, of course, Grandma, whom all our elders called 'Aunt Mag' then there was Aunt Mae and Aunt Annie, cousin Paul, Dad 'n Mom and 'us Katzenjammer' kids all reaching 'n grabbing 'n vying with one another over one solitary, defenseless bird.

First off, Aunt Mae always made the official announcement that cousin Paul would have to have nothing but the white meat. To compensate, Aunt Mae would settle for a wing, Mom was satisfied with the back, brother and I always pulled off a drumstick apiece, while Aunt Annie chewed on the gizzard and Grandma gnawed the neck. By the time the platter got down to Dad, he would say, 'Any piece will do I'm not finicky' and he couldn't really be, at that stage of the game. When the bones were all stacked up, it was Mom who usually reached over with the well-chewed wish-bone, knowing just how to grasp it so I'd get the shortest end while she got her wish.

Having gorged himself sufficiently on the choice white meat, Aunt Mae passing him all the 'vittles' firstestit was cousin Paul who left the table before all the rest, grunting and groaning from discomfiture of an overstuffed tummy. Now my ever loving aunts 'n uncles, including Dad, had generously chipped in and had a little 'jon' built right into the corner of the small dining room for Grandma's convenience. The only thing, instead of being well insulated, it had walls that consisted of only beaver board a very good conductor of sounds and pyrotechnics issuing from within-all this while the rest of us were trying to finish our Thanksgiving repast which consisted of those parts of the festive bird which cousin Paul didn't like; and therefore had generously left for us.

Other years, the happy season of Thanksgiving meant gathering out at Uncle John's and Doney Stewart's, which always entailed the thrilling trip of riding a mile out into the country in cousin Paul's big Buick seven-passenger touring car which Aunt Mae referred to as 'the DeLuxe Model'.

Of course there was the proverbial Thanksgiving bird with Uncle John his beady eyes, his thinly-parted, slightly curled hair and drooping walrus mustache the epitome of old-time family tin-types presiding with carving knife and fork over the simmering, well-stuffed Tom at the head of the festive board. Both Uncle John and the oval framed, gay-90's portrait of him hanging overhead appeared the perfect patriarchal host at such gala holiday events, whether he knew it or not. For, although 'us kids' were often awed in his august presence, his actions seemed to belie knowledge of that noble fact.

With cousin Paul being handed the choicest viands by the ever-devoted Aunt Mae, he was thus able to gorge himself into insensibility and discomfort on the white meat, after which he promptly retreated to Uncle John's 'jon' while the rest of us were entering the middle courses of our Thanksgiving dinner-thankful over the parts he had left us. Now there was one thing about Uncle John's 'jon'. Although it was built on the second floor, and thus more secluded to save on the free farm water, Uncle John once bragged that he only flushed once a week, which required only an occasional cutting in of the old Delco light system in the basement to generate enough D. C. to actuate the pump. But you can betcha that cousin Paul, the city boy with the seven-passenger Buick DeLuxe, didn't spare on the flushing of Uncle John's free water, or the cutting in of his Delco light plant which probably 'riz' the monthly light bill a cent or two, come the end of November. After which, cousin Paul would retire to Uncle John's parlor sofa, plopping himself down prostrate and snoring off his Thanksgiving dinner 'neath the big stuffed moose-head, which seemed to frown on such indignities, while the rest of us tried to hold conversation despite his moaning 'n groaning.

Then there were the times that the family clan was invited to move in on Uncle George and Mollie Strait, north-east of town, to vent our digestive juices against their festive bird, come the joyful season of Thanksgiving. There were the heaps of luscious fried chicken, the usual oyster dressing, mashed potatoes 'n gravy, the cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie 'n all the trimmings, with cousin Paul getting the choice as usual while the rest got the leavings.

But it was the unusual country talk that transpired out at Uncle George's and Aunt Mollie's which I always remembered even more than the tasty 'vittles.' For after the big meal was over, it went like this: Aunt Mollie would say, 'Clarie you wipe this kittle out.' And, 'Aunt Vean, she mixed up the oyster dressing with her fingers wasn't it good?' topping it off with something like this, 'You know, I always wash our dishes with one of George's old socks makes the nicest dish-rag you'd ever want.' All of which made me sort of respectful toward Aunt Mollie that she waited 'til after dinner to tell us that. But was Mom ever furious on the way back home.

'To think Mollie would make us eat off of dishes wiped over by George's old sock,' she growled. 'Such a good dinner, then, hearing that, I almost gagged.'

Being a 'town boy', born in the northern 'sticks' of Union City just a stone's throw from the sprawling country side I'll never forget the first threshing dinner I ever attended. I was only six, older brother was nine. Somehow we had learned by the church grapevine that it was threshing day out at the Orla Mote farm which I could well see through my cardboard telescope that I had just received as a premium for selling twenty-four packets of Paradis seeds.

Mom said, 'Why don't you boys walk out to Mote's? They always have a big dinner at threshing time, and if Stella Mote asks you to stay for dinner-well you just stay.'

When brother and I had walked out north of town, and up the long lane to the big Mote house, we were greeted by Stella Mote who was laboring over the stacks of dishes in their huge kitchen.

Although older brother was a little more decorous in his demeanor, not uttering a word, I blurted out, 'Mom said if you invite us to dinner, we can stay.'

To which replied Stella Mote, over the din of rattling pots 'n pans' Oh, dinner is over boys. But if you'll sit down, I'll give you each apiece of pie.'

That was my first initiation into trying to free-load at a threshermen's dinner.

Here of late I've been quite interested in studying up on the old acoustic-type phonographs that played the 78 record discs. You know, the kind that used to grace every parlor, as the main center of entertainment, along with the family player piano, prior to the advent of radio. It was during the Second World War that I managed to buy a fine old Orthophonic Phonograph the finest-toned Victrola ever made, with large speaker from top to bottom of the huge cabinet. I received a veritable musical education over this fine old phonograph which boasted an electric motor that ran the turntable. I didn't even have to crank this one. It was the one that Kecks, the town millionaires, had paid around four-hundred dollars for at Shierling's Music Store, and when they traded it back for a modern radio, Roy Shierling sold it to me for only twenty dollars. The artists sounded as real, as if they were performing right in your living room.

But, later when I moved into my Mother's home, I didn't have room for this gorgeous and rather large old instrument, so I told my older brother to keep it for me. When brother passed on, a few years ago, I sadly discovered that he had removed all the innards of the fine old Orthophonic the large reentry tone-chamber and all. However, I did manage to salvage the electric turntable motor, and it is my ambition to some day acquire enough spare parts, if I'm lucky enough to, and rebuild it like it originally was. Like some men re-build the old steam engines, I'd like to re-build this old Orthophonic and enjoy the old 78's on it once again. But I'm finding it almost impossible to find a big acoustic speaker to fit the cabinet as many were removed and the big cabinet used for storage, like brother had used mine for.

In my endeavors to find parts, I have made a sort of study of other old phonographs along the way, and find them quite interesting. I have been reading quite extensively about Thomas Alva Edison, and his efforts at perfecting the 'talking machine', which he invented, over into a real musical instrument for the arts. The big thick, flat discs which Edison developed, he called 'Musical Re-Creations'. One book tells how the Edison factory, under the eagle eye of old Thomas Alva, put on a public promotion at Boston Symphony Hall to prove that the Edison phonograph was superior to all other so-called 'talking machines'. The year was around 1911. An audience had gathered in Boston Symphony Hall, made up of music lovers and critics. A modest wood cabinet stood in the center of the huge stage. An accomplished mezzo-soprano strode out onto the stage and stood by the cabinet. She began singing arias from various operas. Suddenly her lips stopped moving, but the same beautiful voice kept right on singing. The booklet claims the audience could not tell the difference in the rendition, but realized only that the Edison phonograph was playing when the artist's lips stopped moving. Since reading this, I have sort of been on the warpath for one of these old Edison phonographs which was a Chippendale, Model C-250, in tall, gaunt wood cabinet which reached about four and a half feet from the floor to the top.

Early inventors, like Edison, deserve great credit from the millions of us who have taken their great contributions so for granted in our daily lives. When Edison began his experiments, our nation was a bare frontier, without communications, save the telegraph, without electric lights, without moving pictures, without electric generating systems, electric railways, and the like. Imagine what this single genius has given the world, by his tireless efforts in continual experimentation. He often spent twenty hours of every day improving life for you and me sleeping but four hours to begin the day all over again.

We should be ever grateful to him even thankful at Thanksgiving time for what his life and efforts have meant to us.

There was another great inventor Abner D. Baker, who designed and built the famous Baker Engine. Mr. Baker once told me the story of how he developed the Baker-Pilliod Valve Gear how it was installed on some 28,000 railroad locomotives throughout the United States and Mexico, and that's a lot of locomotives! Many engineers I've talked to since have told me that the Baker Valve Gear was the finest locomotive valve gear ever developed, and much superior to the over-rated Walschaerts Valve Gear, being a very positive type of gear that developed more horsepower for the same rated locomotive. Inventors, like Edison, Baker and the like are men who have elevated our nation to a position of leadership in the world. Would that our so-called modern inventors and engineers were likewise more genuine and less sophisticated with their plastic, snap-together, fall-apart kinds of contraptions that half of the time don't work, but cost thrice the price of the sturdy, well-built gadgets of an earlier day.

Many have written their appreciation of the THRESHING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF columns. For this we are likewise thankful at this Thanksgiving Season. But numerous ones also have written, asking where they can buy the Sea Salt, and other Health Foods mentioned at various times herein. We can only reply 'Search for a Health Food Store, or Natural Food Store in your own area.' I have no way of knowing where these are located in your city or area. You must inquire in your own locality. Hunt through the Yellow Pages, or ask someone who belongs to a Natural Food Association or Club near you, or in the next town or city. When you write to me, asking where to get these Natural Foods, it just costs me an eight-cent stamp to merely write back and tell you I can't possibly know where such places exist in your far-off territory. But you can search and find. There is such a big demand for the Natural and Healthful Foods, as a means to getting well, that some drug store chains are beginning to sell them. Also some big supermarket chains are including them on their shelves. We might mention, too, that oftentimes there is a small Health Food Store right in your town but it might be a small sideline along with another store. For instance, our local dry-cleaner and fur storage business has a sideline of Natural Foods. But so many have written for Sea Salt in the past that he gave up trying to fill orders, due to extra work of packaging and the high cost of parcel post which was more than the price of the salt.

We might mention other fine Natural Foods which can benefit you immensely.

If you will eat three to five raw almonds every day (with the brown skins on), they will prevent growth of tumors in the body. They contain latrile, an element that is now being used to treat cancer and cure it in Mexico. If you can't get raw almonds, then apricots also contain it. They are all pleasant eating, will do no harm, and hold much promise. Eating Health Foods is even better than taking out life insurance.

For fending off colds, take Vitamin C, made from Rose Hips. You can get these in many drug stores. Be sure they are made from the Rose Hips, and not the synthetic kind made from lifeless laboratory products and chemicals.

If you take a couple spoonfuls of Lecithin (pronounced Less-i-thin) at each meal, it will clear cholesterol out of the blood vessels, help the mind, tone the body, and allow the heart to work with less of a load. It has even been known to help those who have suffered strokes. You will like the enjoyable flavor of granular Lecithin. It's delicious on cereals, and in gravies. My wife puts Lecithin and honey on buttered toast for her school sandwich. It gets rid of the fats that make cholesterol in our blood stream. It's a natural food derived from the healthful soybean. It is not a medicine. Only doctors can prescribe medicines. We only talk about Health Foods and Natural Foods, derived from Nature's laboratories in these columns. We do not prescribe anything. We only suggest good natural food derivatives which are backed by such institutions as the Natural Food Associates, The Association for Research and Enlightenment, the readings from the Cayce case histories, and various publications by Health Food experts. Health Foods build the body so it can heal itself.

Among nutritionists, it is well-known that wheat germ can re-build the heart. In view of this it would be wise for a healthy man or woman to take a couple of wheat germ capsules each day, to keep his heart healthy. For the man who has heart trouble, the wheat germ is also known to be capable of re-building the heart strong again.

If anyone has a raspy or sore throat, try taking a cup of hot sage tea, sweetened with honey. And if anyone has sinus trouble, chew some honey that has the comb in it. That is known to cure the trouble. If you want a tonic that gives well-being, take a couple spoons of granular Lecithin, and a couple spoons of honey.

For a real quick and tasty noon snack, I often open a can of tuna, pour on some Lecithin granules, and some safflower oilRealll gooooooood!

Soon the time for celebrating Christmas will be upon us. The season dedicated to the birth of a Savior the One who came into the world during its bleakest, most cruel hour to teach men how to be God-like and from whom all good and worthy institutions of our civilization have sprung. When they asked Jesus where the Kingdom of God washe answered, 'The Kingdom of God is neither here nor there it is within you.' How wonderful we do not have to wait on some 'pie in the sky' heavenly vision of white-robed angles, playing harps while sitting on white clouds, to reward us. The Kingdom of God, which means right living, is within us, if we so practice it. Some Christians think that, by giving their whole lives to Christ, they will receive special rewards above the others. But not so. For those who come, even at the very last moments of their lives, will receive the same rewards as those who've lived as Christians all their lives. 'The last shall be first, and the first last,' said He. 'Whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord (even at the last moment) shall be saved.'

The reward for those who have lived their entire lives as Christians is that they have enjoyed the Kingdom of God within over the years, while those who have come later probably had more serious obstacles in life and personality to over come a more difficult struggle to get there. But for that extra effort, there is special reward!

Like Thomas Edison and A. D. Baker who remade the world by their inventions so Jesus remakes the human soul, fit for the Kingdom of God to reside within.