Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff

Ray Ernst and Ray Vorhies

Left to right: Ray Ernst and Ray Vorhies.

Charlie Harrison

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My friend who signs himself as The Ypsilanti Cockroach has written another letter. He claims our column is not only 'all wet', but it is grossly misnamed. La Cucarache goes on to explain that it is impossible to 'thresh wheat from the chaff', arguing as he does that the correct title should be 'Threshing The Chaff'.

In my book this argument would be tantamount to 'driving the wagon instead of the horse,' whereas you drive the horse only to ride in the wagon. If La Cucarache had his way we would not be allowed to say we were 'shelling corn', but instead would have to say we are shelling cobs. It so happens that we 'shell the corn' in order to eliminate the cob, because we happen to eat the corn and not the cob. In like manner we thresh the wheat to get rid of the chaff because we eat the wheat, not the chaff.

If my friend prefers to eat the cob rather than the corn, or the chaff instead of the wheat, he hasn't as yet ever mentioned doing so. But, on second thought, who am I to judge, since cockroaches have been known to eat many things that we wouldn't.

The Bible speaks of 'Threshing the wheat from the chaff', as does all our literature in times past. And I've yet to hear for the first time at any threshing reunion the announcer's voice coming over the loudspeakers, saying, 'Now folks we are going to thresh chaff'. But I have many times heard 'We are going to thresh wheat.'

I am confident that if I were wrong in titling this column, many an astute thresherman would have shot me through with arrows long before this, and no lesser a dignitary than 'Uncle Elmer' himself would have called me onto the red carpet and placed me under judgment of fire at the very beginning. And Elmer, I believe, was a man who knew how to talk about threshing in the idiom of our time.

Continuing in our original and a-vowed mission of writing things that may be of help to our brother thresher-men who still thresh the wheat from the chaffa mission which Elmer Ritzman gave his official blessing to from the very start we would like to review some of the beneficial chit-chats we had with our many friends who visited us during some of the summer reunions. There were the two at the Rushville, Ind., show who stopped by to tell us how the Sea Salt had been helping and to thank us for mentioning it. For others who claim they weren't 'cured' after sprinkling Sea Salt over a few tomatoes we would like to add that arthritis is a condition that has built up over the years. Health foods and natural remedies require some time and patience as well as constant use. It's like a friend of mine who bought an expensive juicer and thought he'd try carrot juice. After a glass or two he said he felt about the same, and decided it wouldn't work. Had he kept at it every day, drinking a glass of raw carrot juice for several weeks, he'd have noticed a great improvement. That's similar to the person I mentioned drinking carrot juice to, and she replied, 'Oh I eat a couple carrots every now and then.' It would take one a week to chew up enough carrots to make one glass of carrot juice. The juicer is a high-speed machine that breaks up the vegetable cells, tosses out the cellulose and pours the raw, full-strength juice into your glass. The vitamins that do the work are all compacted and concentrated in that glassful. The waste is taken out, as a dry pulp.

At the recent Tri-State Gas and Engine Show at Portland, Ind., we were happy to see our friend, Mae, again. Being over eighty, we had grown accustomed to see Mae walking over the reunion grounds by the aid of a cane. But now she was making it without her usual walking stick. She told us she had been taking two spoons of apple vinegar and two of honey stirred into a glass of water, twice a day which had made the improvement.

We have written before in these columns on the cider vinegar and honey supplement which has reportedly helped many who have tried it. The book, entitled, VERMONT FOLK MEDICINE, by Dr. Jarvis, hails the apple cider vinegar and honey regime as most beneficial toward relieving arthritis, and helping the body in many ways. For instance the story is told of an experiment wherein hunting dogs that tired around noon, after being given a little vinegar they were able to run all day. Even experiments on livestock resulted in much improvement. I have tried the cider vinegar-honey approach several times putting the two spoons of apple vinegar and two of honey into a glass of water, stirring the sticky contents thoroughly, after which I'd sip it now and then through a meal. It had a mild, pleasant taste, not the least offensive, but sort of like a weakened cider. I discovered that I had more energy throughout the full day. Actually, a glass in the morning, and one in the evening would be best. Many have reported it has helped them get around by relieving the pains of sore joints and muscles. The chemistry of everyone's physical make-up varies greatly from person to person, and then there are those who do not try the Sea Salt, simply because they don't dare eat much salt. The apple-cider and honey tonic would certainly be worth trying for those who will avail themselves of this cheap and easy country kitchen remedy. I think every thresher-man's wife knows where she can get some apple vinegar and honey old-time household stand-bys that certainly need no doctor's prescription and are as close as the pantry shelf without having to set out on foot to the village drugstore to acquire. Try it you may like it and who knows, you may even drink the WHOLE THING and feel better by it.

At least no one should have to invest in an eight-cent stamp to write us and ask, 'Where can I get some vinegar and honey?'

At Tri State Show this August, a Columbus, Ohio, man who had brought some gas engines to exhibit, told me that his wife had died from too many pain pills and tranquilizers, prescribed by her doctor. He said I am devoting the rest of my life to telling people of the dangers of these pain-killing, tranquilizing drugs on the market. It is a travesty of our times that too often the so-called healing arts do not get at the cause of our ailments and treat them from there. In place of giving the sick body natural foods and food supplements to help it get well, pain killers are prescribed instead. By having the pain killed, the patient often thinks he's received a quick cure. But the cause yet remains, oftentimes worse because of the drug administered. America is often referred to as the leading pill-swallowing nation in the world. The pill gulpers who seek quick cures, but never get them, are the ones who try Sea Salt only once, or drink a single glass of raw carrot juice, or one glass of apple vinegar and honey and then quit because Nature hasn't had time to work some kind of miracle in rebuilding their weakened bodies overnight.

Using natural foods and food supplements takes time to overcome years of neglect, wrong food and abuse of our physical anatomy. Whatever natural remedy you try, keep at it for weeks, even six months to a year and then report. Oftentimes the improvement is very gradual until you barely notice it. But one day you will realize that you have improved over a period of time. And it is a healthy improvement not just a pain killer, but one that removes the cause of the pain.

A steam thresherman and his wife stopped by our Iron Man-GEM stand at Tri-State Show, last week, to unload a message they had on their hearts concerning the blind senior citizen segment of our threshermen's brotherhood who would like to be able to read The Iron Men Album, but can't.

'There are many who would like to read these magazines many who still have the fond memories but can't because their sight is gone,' said the lady. 'If only the magazines could be printed in braille, the government would help by doing the work free as part of their effort for the blind.'

I replied that I felt very few thresher-men would be educated to read braille. But my school-librarian wife interjected by adding, 'Talking Records would be the answer. The magazines could be read by experts onto a record for the blind.'

I know of a friend in Greenville, Ohio, who derives many hours of pleasure from the government program of Talking Book Records which affords the sightless the mental stimulus of listening to fine literature. Lack of sight need not deprive a person from becoming acquainted with the world's fine literature and worthwhile information. And the program is sponsored by our government, at very little cost to the blind, save for the few cents in postage, at the low educational rates.

The president of the Elwood Steam Engine Show stopped by our stand later at Tri-State Portland, Ind., Show, and told us of his efforts in trying to get our government to issue a steam engine stamp. He wanted me to get 'the good word around', by having the readers write to their respective congressmen and government officers in the interest of convincing them that such a stamp would be very popular. And wouldn't it be nice to go up to your local post office window and be able to purchase some stamps with the picture of a big steam thresh engine belted to a separator- THRESHING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF in some lovely barnyard scene. My first suggestion was that familiar calendar picture showing a Case Engine belted to a threshing machine which we all are familiar with. But this gentleman from Elwood also had some other fine suggestions which we aim to talk about later in these columns.

Well, it looks like we have many things to be thankful for this summer, blessings we've derived from seeing our many friends at the big reunions now coming to a close for the season. Those who are feeling better because of a few simple and inexpensive household remedies derived from off their kitchen shelves, the suggestions to help the blind enjoy reading the Iron Men Magazines, and now the idea of a steam engine stamp. The Good Book says, 'Cast thy bread upon the water and it will return. 'Whatsoever thou gives away, it shall be given back, shaken down and running over. 'Wise men have told us for ages that we can only keep what we give to others. Jesus taught that in loving others, we receive love in return. 'Whosoever give up his life for Me, the same shall save it. And he who doth not give his life to Me, the same shall lost it.' And 'Whosoever give up the comforts of home and family for my sake shall receive the same a hundred-fold both in life and the life to come.'

I am reminded of the little raccoon I found two summers ago. One day I went out to get into our truck, and I heard something chirring over by the big maple tree. Looking down at my feet, I discovered a tiny ball of fur. It was a baby raccoon, lost from its 'Momma' and asking for help. We picked up the tiny, helpless creature and showed it to our neighbor who loved wild animals. He took it and cleaned its little furry body of the ticks that had already fastened themselves into its tender hide. His children immediately became attached to the little fellow which my wife told them to christen, 'Rascal', from a book she has in her school library about just such a pet raccoon. The tiny ball of fur would often run across the big yard to greet us, sitting out on our patio. He would share the cat's food in our bowl, and, as he grew he would climb our trees and even scramble up onto the garage roof and play tag with our curious cat. After a year, with Rascal grown pretty big in size, the neighbor man decided to take him a distance up the road to the rod and gun club. The story reached us that the man at the club had turned Rascal out free into the woods.

Several times we heard our neighbor regret that he had given Rascal away.

'I guess we should have kept him,' he'd say. 'He was a fine pet.'

This spring my wife called me out onto the patio one evening. There was a big raccoon, eating out of our cat's dish. He didn't run away when we approached, and he allowed me to take his picture while eating, not even jumping when the flash bulb went off.

With our sweet corn patch coming along nicely, we decided to buy up some big sacks of cheap dog food, and we kept Rascal's bowl full, feeling as we did that if he filled up on that, he wouldn't bother to climb the hill and raid the corn. He kept coming night after night, and our corn patch was respected by Rascal. One night I discovered a big possum also feeding out of the same bowl with the raccoon. The possum would hiss if the cat or raccoon interfered too close with his feeding. But Rascal allowed both the cat and possum to share the food when he was eating. Suddenly it dawned on us that this was the same little Rascal we had given away. He had come back, after his wanderings, to be our friend once again and liven our evenings for us. He became our favorite topic of conversation. The little lost raccoon to whom we'd given some love, was returning that love by his affection for us.

I said to my wife one evening, 'Like the man who cast his bread upon the water and it returned, so we gave away our pet Rascal and he has returned big, bushy-tailed and over-grown. Our cup runneth over.'