A boilermaker from the Case factory

| January/February 1953

In 1902 the early harvest had started on the western plains of Saskatchewan, or at that time known as the North West Territories of Canada. The days were those such as one saw only on the great open plains. Each day a blue haze seemed to hang over everything in the quiet fall air which was hot and dry. The crops were good, and everyone was doing their best to get them cut and stacked for, in those days, the 'Red Fife' wheat was a late variety and threshers were scarce which meant long delays at times between cutting and threshing.

So it happened that year that, as a school boy of 11 I had a chance to be one of the men. To drive the binder each day was wonderful, and then came the stacking. That time always meant days of real sport as well for the wild game was on the wing south. Great flocks of geese and ducks came into the fields and generally each late evening or early morning would mean a shoot such is not known now. Quite well can I remember the whooping cranes. It was a common sight to see a flock in their dance which always was in a circle and would last for an hour or so.

However, that year after the grain was all stacked, heavy rain set in and made the season miserable for a while and then it turned cold and the ground froze up in October for the winter, but no snow.

It was one of those sharp October days that Dad stated we would go and look for a thresher to come as soon as possible. That was a day long to be remembered. We had driven with a team and wagon to where we could see one working and arrangements were made for it to come later in the week. It was a small outfit with a straw carrier and horse power.

A week later it moved in and that morning Dad told me to take my place with another man to 'back' straw away. What a thrill! Now I was a thresherman! The days seemed all too short as they slipped by and then one morning, a man who cut bands wanted a change, so that was the next step up, and I finished up at that place until the district was threshed. By then the weather had turned cold, and when I had to stay home and do the Chores for Dad, the time seemed to go slow.

By the next fail things had changed considerably. The thresher that year was a new J. I. Case hand feeder and straw carrier, but a 15 hp. portable steam engine burning straw. That is when life began. By then, as most boys raised on a farm, I was strong and a good size for my age. ('Regular hours and good food always show' is an old proverb.