What's For Dinner?

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Box 207 Perry, MO 63462

Often I think back when I was a child threshing day was a time we children all looked forward to. The coming of the threshing machine, it was like a circus coming to town. You could hear it for miles the steel wheels crunching the gravel roads. Most times this took place in the early hours of the morning, around sun up. That meant the old wood cook stove was in for a workout. The meat had to be on to cook. Pies and cakes had to be baked. The neighbor women and girls who were old enough to help would all gather and start preparing the meal for that day.

In our neighborhood the thresher-man was Mr. Bill Timerberg. He had a 19 HP Keck-Gonnerman engine #1847 and a separator of the same make. Bill was an excellent threshing man. Kept the machinery in top shape at all times.

On one particular morning, about sunrise, as usual the whistle on #1847 sounded and he was heading for the Clarence Graue farm, near Mineolo, Missouri, a distance of about 3 miles. The whistle prompted Mrs. Graue to check her kitchen for supplies, and she needed a few things from the store.

They had a 1929 Chevrolet that was nearly new, which was always kept in the garage. They also had a pair of goats. Upon Mr. Graue's return from the store, he parked the car under the shade tree, took his wife the kitchen supplies, and went out to the barn to get some sacks ready for seed wheat.

I am sure if Mr. Graue were alive today he wouldn't object to my telling this. While he was at the barn, the goats took a tour on top of his car, which resulted in the top having to be replaced. Upon noticing this, Billy Goat Gruff and his girl friend Nonnie suddenly became candidates to furnish the meat for the threshing dinner. By then, a couple of neighbors had shown up to help thresh.

Soon butcher knives were flashing in the morning sun as the goats were cleaned and cooled in spring water nearby. Everyone agreed they had an excellent dinner that day.

My mother told of a time when she was a girl, back about 1914. She went to help with the preparation of a threshing dinner and this family always saved two big hams to cook for the threshers. Mother said when they went to the smoke house to get them, they discovered the rats had gotten there first and all that was left were the bones and little of the rinds. The only thing left to do was head for the chicken house, she said. Several roosters ceased to crow and some old hens were fixed so they wouldn't lay any more eggs.

Back then, banana pie was a real special treat. Bill Rohning was very fond of these pies. When the whistle tooted for dinner, Bill came in and caught sight of a banana pie, which had been transferred to an old fashioned paper plate the kind that would soak up some of the juice.

He said that would be enough dinner for him, and without looking he tore into it and ate the paper plate and all. The other fellows turned their heads and laughed. Later, they asked him how the pie was and he said real good, but the crust sure was tough.

I can well remember the 10 gallon crock jars full of iced tea and lemonade, another time a threshing dinner was being prepared. And they had planned to have a fruit salad, but somehow the fruit salad bowl got dropped. The family had just purchased a new slop jar had the price tag on it and hadn't been used for its intended purpose, and it worked very well.

We men who helped thresh have complained about the heat, the dust and sweat, but the women folks didn't have it easy with the wood cook stoves that was a hot job, too. All these people I have mentioned are now deceased.