I had intended to send in my check for renewal a month ago, but
I smashed a finger with the hammer. I should have had both hands on
the hammer handle and it wouldn’t have happened.
I started threshing over a half-century ago & not long after
that I attended the first Threshers Convention, the biggest one I
ever attended was in Wichita in 1912, when three states joined
together to put on what I have always understood was the biggest
show of threshing machinery ever put on.
I joined the Michigan Thresher Men’s Association as soon as
I knew about it and served as its president from 1926 until it was
discontinued. Now it wasn’t a paying job in cash, but in memory
it was the largest paying job I ever had. It also gave me a most
valuable experience and I met and made the acquaintance of some of
the finest men I ever knew. Many things took place at our
conventions which were held at Lansing, Michigan, that I will never
forget. The Machinery Show was always the top attraction. The
Convention Hall (which usually was the large ball room of the Kerns
Hotel) was a strong rival to the Machinery Show and was the first
place in the evenings. Business and entertainment were the order of
the day. Many fine speeches from prominent men of that day,
including the Governor of Michigan, were heard on our programs. Our
biggest crowd that packed the hall and reached far out of the
doors, was when the famous boxer, Jack Dempsey attended the evening
meeting of our 1929 convention. He told of his experiences of
working with a threshing machine in the west, and said that that
should qualify him as a thresherman. I remember that I introduced
him as the greatest thrasher in the world and who had made more
money in the shortest time of any thresherman I had ever heard tell
of the big money he had made and many of them could tell them big
after having refreshments at Lansing’s bars, which had extra
bartenders to take care of the convention trade.
A prize was offered one year to the man telling the biggest days
run story. I don’t recall how that came out but one thresherman
said that he raised beagle hound rabbit dogs. Yes sir, said he, my
best bitch had nineteen dog pups at one litter. He also told of
looking out of his living room window one day when a car went by
very slowly and a little boy pointed his finger to his dogs for
sale sign on the house. Soon the car came back and the man came to
the door. The thresherman’s wife went to the door. The man said
I want to buy a dog for my little boy and we would like the air
dale that we saw looking out of the window when we went by. We have
only hounds to sell, said the woman. What you saw looking out of
the window was my husband.
While I am on the subject of story tellers and liars, I might
mention that the threshermen in my time were not considered
reliable when they promised the farmer that they would be on his
job. Consequently our clan got the reputation of being liars. Now
as I was brought up in the old fashioned way, I resented being
classed as a liar. However, I found by looking in the dictionary
that a liar is one who makes statements that deceive, consequently
as the farmer claimed that he put no dependence in the
thresher-man’s promises he was not deceived- the thresherman
was not a liar after all. That made me feel much better.
Those old days are gone never to return. The only connection I
get with the old time threshing is when I attend the old time
meetings that I have attended several times. Also reading about the
old days, men and machines in the ALBUM.
Don’t miss me if you have to send the sheriff to collect.
Now this is a little different than most of the letters you print.
I thought it might be alright for a fill in or a set job. So do
with it as you see fit.