| January/February 1995

Frank Burris, who has been a long time contributor to this column has suggested that we continue to use the title Soot in the Flues by Anna Mae, even though Anna Mae has now passed on. We consider this a good suggestion, and we appreciate all the letters that have been coming in to our offices for the column. We think it fitting that we continue to honor Anna Mae's memory in this way, since she was so important to us and to our readers. We'd also like to ask all of you to share with us little pieces of inspirational wisdom which you may come across, as Anna Mae did. Now, to the first letter:

DAVE TAYLOR, P.O. Box 705, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin., writes, 'I recently received this letter from my good friend Barry Trindle of Earlham, Iowa, and I wanted to share it in part with you and your readers.

'I was sharing with Barry some of the details of the successful Steam Engineering School, sponsored by the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Association and held each year at Rollag, Minnesota. I am privileged to help with the school and told Barry in a letter how much fun we all have.

'I believe there may be a lot of us who remember when harvests were a bit different and can relate to what Barry has to share.' Barry Trindle's letter follows:

'I wish you could tell your students another side of the story, the side about neighborhoods of farmers working together to harvest the wheat and oats. A time just before my time when about 15 farmers worked together, even formed Threshing Associations' that owned the engines and separators. When a special service was held at a country church when the harvest started, and another one of thanksgiving was held when it was over, and at both services hymns that everyone knew and loved were sung. I don't believe condoms were distributed at these services.

'At noon, after they had made sure their team of horses was watered and tied in a shady spot, the men washed up in the yard and then ate a meal (after grace was said) of fried steak or fried chicken, or fried pork chops or fried ham, or roast beef or roast pork, or chicken and noodles or chicken and dumplings, or beef and noodles or. . . with mashed potatoes, brown gravy, fresh corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, fresh green beans with bacon or ham, and wilted lettuce fixed in bacon grease. Also there was a bowl with fresh carrots, radishes, and green onions with a salt cellar beside each plate. Dessert would be a choice of apple, cherry, or peach pie with fresh cream or whipped cream or cheese. And gallons of ice tea to wash it all down. Lord, those women could cook!