Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff

At the time of this writing, visions of the Thanksgiving turkey
with all its trimmin’soyster dressing, mashed potatoes ‘n
gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with whipped cream-seems
uppermost in our minds, beckoning the heralding of the happy
holiday season just ahead.

I am reminded of those happy days when the whole clan
congregated around the sagging festive board at Grandma’s, down
the street and ’round the corner. There was, of course,
Grandma, whom all our elders called ‘Aunt Mag’ then there
was Aunt Mae and Aunt Annie, cousin Paul, Dad ‘n Mom and
‘us Katzenjammer’ kids all reaching ‘n grabbing ‘n
vying with one another over one solitary, defenseless bird.

First off, Aunt Mae always made the official announcement that
cousin Paul would have to have nothing but the white meat. To
compensate, Aunt Mae would settle for a wing, Mom was satisfied
with the back, brother and I always pulled off a drumstick apiece,
while Aunt Annie chewed on the gizzard and Grandma gnawed the neck.
By the time the platter got down to Dad, he would say, ‘Any
piece will do I’m not finicky’ and he couldn’t really
be, at that stage of the game. When the bones were all stacked up,
it was Mom who usually reached over with the well-chewed wish-bone,
knowing just how to grasp it so I’d get the shortest end while
she got her wish.

Having gorged himself sufficiently on the choice white meat,
Aunt Mae passing him all the ‘vittles’ firstestit was
cousin Paul who left the table before all the rest, grunting and
groaning from discomfiture of an overstuffed tummy. Now my ever
loving aunts ‘n uncles, including Dad, had generously chipped
in and had a little ‘jon’ built right into the corner of
the small dining room for Grandma’s convenience. The only
thing, instead of being well insulated, it had walls that consisted
of only beaver board a very good conductor of sounds and
pyrotechnics issuing from within-all this while the rest of us were
trying to finish our Thanksgiving repast which consisted of those
parts of the festive bird which cousin Paul didn’t like; and
therefore had generously left for us.

Other years, the happy season of Thanksgiving meant gathering
out at Uncle John’s and Doney Stewart’s, which always
entailed the thrilling trip of riding a mile out into the country
in cousin Paul’s big Buick seven-passenger touring car which
Aunt Mae referred to as ‘the DeLuxe Model’.

Of course there was the proverbial Thanksgiving bird with Uncle
John his beady eyes, his thinly-parted, slightly curled hair and
drooping walrus mustache the epitome of old-time family tin-types
presiding with carving knife and fork over the simmering,
well-stuffed Tom at the head of the festive board. Both Uncle John
and the oval framed, gay-90’s portrait of him hanging overhead
appeared the perfect patriarchal host at such gala holiday events,
whether he knew it or not. For, although ‘us kids’ were
often awed in his august presence, his actions seemed to belie
knowledge of that noble fact.

With cousin Paul being handed the choicest viands by the
ever-devoted Aunt Mae, he was thus able to gorge himself into
insensibility and discomfort on the white meat, after which he
promptly retreated to Uncle John’s ‘jon’ while the rest
of us were entering the middle courses of our Thanksgiving
dinner-thankful over the parts he had left us. Now there was one
thing about Uncle John’s ‘jon’. Although it was built
on the second floor, and thus more secluded to save on the free
farm water, Uncle John once bragged that he only flushed once a
week, which required only an occasional cutting in of the old Delco
light system in the basement to generate enough D. C. to actuate
the pump. But you can betcha that cousin Paul, the city boy with
the seven-passenger Buick DeLuxe, didn’t spare on the flushing
of Uncle John’s free water, or the cutting in of his Delco
light plant which probably ‘riz’ the monthly light bill a
cent or two, come the end of November. After which, cousin Paul
would retire to Uncle John’s parlor sofa, plopping himself down
prostrate and snoring off his Thanksgiving dinner ‘neath the
big stuffed moose-head, which seemed to frown on such indignities,
while the rest of us tried to hold conversation despite his moaning
‘n groaning.

Then there were the times that the family clan was invited to
move in on Uncle George and Mollie Strait, north-east of town, to
vent our digestive juices against their festive bird, come the
joyful season of Thanksgiving. There were the heaps of luscious
fried chicken, the usual oyster dressing, mashed potatoes ‘n
gravy, the cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie ‘n all the trimmings,
with cousin Paul getting the choice as usual while the rest got the
leavings.

But it was the unusual country talk that transpired out at Uncle
George’s and Aunt Mollie’s which I always remembered even
more than the tasty ‘vittles.’ For after the big meal was
over, it went like this: Aunt Mollie would say, ‘Clarie you
wipe this kittle out.’ And, ‘Aunt Vean, she mixed up the
oyster dressing with her fingers wasn’t it good?’ topping
it off with something like this, ‘You know, I always wash our
dishes with one of George’s old socks makes the nicest dish-rag
you’d ever want.’ All of which made me sort of respectful
toward Aunt Mollie that she waited ’til after dinner to tell us
that. But was Mom ever furious on the way back home.

‘To think Mollie would make us eat off of dishes wiped over
by George’s old sock,’ she growled. ‘Such a good
dinner, then, hearing that, I almost gagged.’

Being a ‘town boy’, born in the northern
‘sticks’ of Union City just a stone’s throw from the
sprawling country side I’ll never forget the first threshing
dinner I ever attended. I was only six, older brother was nine.
Somehow we had learned by the church grapevine that it was
threshing day out at the Orla Mote farm which I could well see
through my cardboard telescope that I had just received as a
premium for selling twenty-four packets of Paradis seeds.

Mom said, ‘Why don’t you boys walk out to Mote’s?
They always have a big dinner at threshing time, and if Stella Mote
asks you to stay for dinner-well you just stay.’

When brother and I had walked out north of town, and up the long
lane to the big Mote house, we were greeted by Stella Mote who was
laboring over the stacks of dishes in their huge kitchen.

Although older brother was a little more decorous in his
demeanor, not uttering a word, I blurted out, ‘Mom said if you
invite us to dinner, we can stay.’

To which replied Stella Mote, over the din of rattling pots
‘n pans’ Oh, dinner is over boys. But if you’ll sit
down, I’ll give you each apiece of pie.’

That was my first initiation into trying to free-load at a
threshermen’s dinner.

Here of late I’ve been quite interested in studying up on
the old acoustic-type phonographs that played the 78 record discs.
You know, the kind that used to grace every parlor, as the main
center of entertainment, along with the family player piano, prior
to the advent of radio. It was during the Second World War that I
managed to buy a fine old Orthophonic Phonograph the finest-toned
Victrola ever made, with large speaker from top to bottom of the
huge cabinet. I received a veritable musical education over this
fine old phonograph which boasted an electric motor that ran the
turntable. I didn’t even have to crank this one. It was the one
that Kecks, the town millionaires, had paid around four-hundred
dollars for at Shierling’s Music Store, and when they traded it
back for a modern radio, Roy Shierling sold it to me for only
twenty dollars. The artists sounded as real, as if they were
performing right in your living room.

But, later when I moved into my Mother’s home, I didn’t
have room for this gorgeous and rather large old instrument, so I
told my older brother to keep it for me. When brother passed on, a
few years ago, I sadly discovered that he had removed all the
innards of the fine old Orthophonic the large reentry tone-chamber
and all. However, I did manage to salvage the electric turntable
motor, and it is my ambition to some day acquire enough spare
parts, if I’m lucky enough to, and rebuild it like it
originally was. Like some men re-build the old steam engines,
I’d like to re-build this old Orthophonic and enjoy the old
78’s on it once again. But I’m finding it almost impossible
to find a big acoustic speaker to fit the cabinet as many were
removed and the big cabinet used for storage, like brother had used
mine for.

In my endeavors to find parts, I have made a sort of study of
other old phonographs along the way, and find them quite
interesting. I have been reading quite extensively about Thomas
Alva Edison, and his efforts at perfecting the ‘talking
machine’, which he invented, over into a real musical
instrument for the arts. The big thick, flat discs which Edison
developed, he called ‘Musical Re-Creations’. One book tells
how the Edison factory, under the eagle eye of old Thomas Alva, put
on a public promotion at Boston Symphony Hall to prove that the
Edison phonograph was superior to all other so-called ‘talking
machines’. The year was around 1911. An audience had gathered
in Boston Symphony Hall, made up of music lovers and critics. A
modest wood cabinet stood in the center of the huge stage. An
accomplished mezzo-soprano strode out onto the stage and stood by
the cabinet. She began singing arias from various operas. Suddenly
her lips stopped moving, but the same beautiful voice kept right on
singing. The booklet claims the audience could not tell the
difference in the rendition, but realized only that the Edison
phonograph was playing when the artist’s lips stopped moving.
Since reading this, I have sort of been on the warpath for one of
these old Edison phonographs which was a Chippendale, Model C-250,
in tall, gaunt wood cabinet which reached about four and a half
feet from the floor to the top.

Early inventors, like Edison, deserve great credit from the
millions of us who have taken their great contributions so for
granted in our daily lives. When Edison began his experiments, our
nation was a bare frontier, without communications, save the
telegraph, without electric lights, without moving pictures,
without electric generating systems, electric railways, and the
like. Imagine what this single genius has given the world, by his
tireless efforts in continual experimentation. He often spent
twenty hours of every day improving life for you and me sleeping
but four hours to begin the day all over again.

We should be ever grateful to him even thankful at Thanksgiving
time for what his life and efforts have meant to us.

There was another great inventor Abner D. Baker, who designed
and built the famous Baker Engine. Mr. Baker once told me the story
of how he developed the Baker-Pilliod Valve Gear how it was
installed on some 28,000 railroad locomotives throughout the United
States and Mexico, and that’s a lot of locomotives! Many
engineers I’ve talked to since have told me that the Baker
Valve Gear was the finest locomotive valve gear ever developed, and
much superior to the over-rated Walschaerts Valve Gear, being a
very positive type of gear that developed more horsepower for the
same rated locomotive. Inventors, like Edison, Baker and the like
are men who have elevated our nation to a position of leadership in
the world. Would that our so-called modern inventors and engineers
were likewise more genuine and less sophisticated with their
plastic, snap-together, fall-apart kinds of contraptions that half
of the time don’t work, but cost thrice the price of the
sturdy, well-built gadgets of an earlier day.

Many have written their appreciation of the THRESHING THE WHEAT
FROM THE CHAFF columns. For this we are likewise thankful at this
Thanksgiving Season. But numerous ones also have written, asking
where they can buy the Sea Salt, and other Health Foods mentioned
at various times herein. We can only reply ‘Search for a Health
Food Store, or Natural Food Store in your own area.’ I have no
way of knowing where these are located in your city or area. You
must inquire in your own locality. Hunt through the Yellow Pages,
or ask someone who belongs to a Natural Food Association or Club
near you, or in the next town or city. When you write to me, asking
where to get these Natural Foods, it just costs me an eight-cent
stamp to merely write back and tell you I can’t possibly know
where such places exist in your far-off territory. But you can
search and find. There is such a big demand for the Natural and
Healthful Foods, as a means to getting well, that some drug store
chains are beginning to sell them. Also some big supermarket chains
are including them on their shelves. We might mention, too, that
oftentimes there is a small Health Food Store right in your town
but it might be a small sideline along with another store. For
instance, our local dry-cleaner and fur storage business has a
sideline of Natural Foods. But so many have written for Sea Salt in
the past that he gave up trying to fill orders, due to extra work
of packaging and the high cost of parcel post which was more than
the price of the salt.

We might mention other fine Natural Foods which can benefit you
immensely.

If you will eat three to five raw almonds every day (with the
brown skins on), they will prevent growth of tumors in the body.
They contain latrile, an element that is now being used to treat
cancer and cure it in Mexico. If you can’t get raw almonds,
then apricots also contain it. They are all pleasant eating, will
do no harm, and hold much promise. Eating Health Foods is even
better than taking out life insurance.

For fending off colds, take Vitamin C, made from Rose Hips. You
can get these in many drug stores. Be sure they are made from the
Rose Hips, and not the synthetic kind made from lifeless laboratory
products and chemicals.

If you take a couple spoonfuls of Lecithin (pronounced
Less-i-thin) at each meal, it will clear cholesterol out of the
blood vessels, help the mind, tone the body, and allow the heart to
work with less of a load. It has even been known to help those who
have suffered strokes. You will like the enjoyable flavor of
granular Lecithin. It’s delicious on cereals, and in gravies.
My wife puts Lecithin and honey on buttered toast for her school
sandwich. It gets rid of the fats that make cholesterol in our
blood stream. It’s a natural food derived from the healthful
soybean. It is not a medicine. Only doctors can prescribe
medicines. We only talk about Health Foods and Natural Foods,
derived from Nature’s laboratories in these columns. We do not
prescribe anything. We only suggest good natural food derivatives
which are backed by such institutions as the Natural Food
Associates, The Association for Research and Enlightenment, the
readings from the Cayce case histories, and various publications by
Health Food experts. Health Foods build the body so it can heal
itself.

Among nutritionists, it is well-known that wheat germ can
re-build the heart. In view of this it would be wise for a healthy
man or woman to take a couple of wheat germ capsules each day, to
keep his heart healthy. For the man who has heart trouble, the
wheat germ is also known to be capable of re-building the heart
strong again.

If anyone has a raspy or sore throat, try taking a cup of hot
sage tea, sweetened with honey. And if anyone has sinus trouble,
chew some honey that has the comb in it. That is known to cure the
trouble. If you want a tonic that gives well-being, take a couple
spoons of granular Lecithin, and a couple spoons of honey.

For a real quick and tasty noon snack, I often open a can of
tuna, pour on some Lecithin granules, and some safflower oilRealll
gooooooood!

Soon the time for celebrating Christmas will be upon us. The
season dedicated to the birth of a Savior the One who came into the
world during its bleakest, most cruel hour to teach men how to be
God-like and from whom all good and worthy institutions of our
civilization have sprung. When they asked Jesus where the Kingdom
of God washe answered, ‘The Kingdom of God is neither here nor
there it is within you.’ How wonderful we do not have to wait
on some ‘pie in the sky’ heavenly vision of white-robed
angles, playing harps while sitting on white clouds, to reward us.
The Kingdom of God, which means right living, is within us, if we
so practice it. Some Christians think that, by giving their whole
lives to Christ, they will receive special rewards above the
others. But not so. For those who come, even at the very last
moments of their lives, will receive the same rewards as those
who’ve lived as Christians all their lives. ‘The last shall
be first, and the first last,’ said He. ‘Whosoever calleth
upon the name of the Lord (even at the last moment) shall be
saved.’

The reward for those who have lived their entire lives as
Christians is that they have enjoyed the Kingdom of God within over
the years, while those who have come later probably had more
serious obstacles in life and personality to over come a more
difficult struggle to get there. But for that extra effort, there
is special reward!

Like Thomas Edison and A. D. Baker who remade the world by their
inventions so Jesus remakes the human soul, fit for the Kingdom of
God to reside within.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment