Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff

Well, this past week we’ve all been to China. We’ve
learned to pronounce once again those old names of cities we used
to see on the maps of our grade school geographies Hangchow,
Shanghai, Peking. And other names such as Chou En Lai, Mao Tse Tung
and Chou Chu Chei, and the like. We did everything but eat with
chop-sticks at the Peking Banquet. We watched our President walk
the Great China Wall and chitchat with little fat-cheeked Oriental
tots. But when he arrived home, the first thing the President did
was to tell us we saw more of China in our living rooms, by way of
Tel-Star, than he had, being there.

The week before, it was the fighting between the religious
factions of Northern Ireland. And the week prior to that we were
skiing and bob-sledding down the icy slopes of the mountains of
northern Japan. It was all so interesting, so absorbing made
possible by American Tel-Star that one could barely get his home
work done. It seems that almost every night, every week, the big
channels have some spectacular, or a dozen of them all lined up to
occupy our personal time.

Just this last Sunday we saw an hour show, entitled, ‘Time
And The City’, sponsored by the American Baptist Hour. It was
one of the most interesting, informative and religiously-enriching
documentaries we have ever viewed, depicting the history and
archeology of the seven Christian Churches the Apostle John wrote
to, concerning his vision on the Island of Patmos, as related in
Revelations.

‘If John had ignored God’s mission for him, what might
have happened to the early Christian Church in Asia Minor?’,
summed up the narrator in conclusion.

How many times human nature overlooks the Diving Plan for the
trivial. Yet mere living seems to be wrapped up in the trivia of
human frailty. So much so, in fact, that, if we are going to
continue living our own lives, we will someday soon have to come to
grips with that big electric eye in our parlors and know when to
shut it off so we can attend to our own living. Otherwise we are
rapidly becoming mere digits of the big ABC, CBS, NBC
monoliths-reduced to mere alphabet soup, too pre-occupied with the
Boob Tube to visit, go to church, read the Bible or take an
interest in the schools and our children.

Little did any thresherman in days of yore ever dream he’d
see his own President walk on the Great Wall of China, or skiers
skiing down the icy crags of Japan, Americans walking on the Moon
and dust storms swirling around the craters of the planet Mars
right in his living room. Now our scientists are sending a space
ship to Jupiter, a journey of twenty-two months and millions of
miles. Who knows, we may unravel the mysteries of the Great Red
Spot which our most powerful telescopes have been observing on the
largest planet in our solar system.

What a day we are living in, fraught with unspeakable wonders!
Yet we live in danger of losing our own souls because of it. We are
sacrificing the humanities of neighborliness, personal culture, the
adventure of living our own lives before the altar of the one-eyed
monster that dominates the decor of our living rooms. Gone is the
old upright piano around which folks used to gather, to play and
sing the homey songs of yesteryear. Gone are the regular visits of
the Sunday School Class that brightened our lives with singing,
playing games, munching pop corn and fall apples. Where are the
kids, lying on the front room floor working on their next day’s
school lessons? Junior no longer practices his weekly piano lesson
on the parlor grand, or sister Kate the violin which used to enrich
the family ties. Instead, kids recite word-perfect the dizzy
commercial repeated over and over ad nauseum while every member of
the household draws up their favorite chair for another NBC
Special. Another evening is gone. The world seems closer, yet
larger, and every individual human a little smaller.

That is one reason so many go to the steam engine reunions each
summer. To get away from it all. To revive the lost humanities, the
friendships and neighborliness we all have missed so much. Men get
old engines and work on them to make them run like new again, while
others come to watch and hear and yell at the engineer.

Come to think of it, I guess that’s why I collect a few old
phonographs an old Victrola, a Columbia, and Edison. And since our
last writing, I have come into possession of a tall C-250
Chippendale, right around the corner from where we live, which was
known as the Official Laboratory Model of the old Edison Factories.
I remember seeing only one other of these models, and that was when
I was a little boy. I looked around for a long while before finding
one. But no sooner had I gotten it than a fellow wrote from Iowa
that he had one and would sell it. What quirks life plays on us
mortals!

I invited our neighbor boy in to look and listen to it. I played
one of the big thick discs, and the tones were as natural as life.
How the deaf Mr. Edison discovered the secrets of getting natural
tone out of a wooden box, long before Victrola and others, I’ll
never fathom. But he did. The neighbor boy began looking around at
the back and sides of the big, tall Edison which towered higher
than he.

‘Where does it plug in?’ he asked, rather stunned, when
he discovered I cranked it instead.

I like the old phonographs as contrasted to the radio and T-V.
First of all, I can choose my own music as I want it. Second, I
have to get up off my fanny and change records and crank it which
offers the double benefit of exercising my pounds off and making me
earn my pleasure. Best of all, NBC isn’t telling me what I have
to look at and listen to. And when it’s silent, it’s as
beautiful and dignified to merely look at as the lines of any steam
engine I’ve ever seen. Let’s face it. The old boys knew how
to make things well, to work and last. No plastics hereon pre-fab
junk to fall apart. What radio or T-V did modern man ever fabricate
to last as long and play as perfectly now as the day it came from
the factory sixty years ago?

Before the 33 rpm records came into vogue, I used to derive much
enjoyment playing a big Victor Orthophonic I purchased second-hand
for only twenty dollars. I practically got a musical education from
the fine artists on that wonderful old phonograph. But I loaned it
to my older brother, and, after he had passed on, I discovered, to
my sadness, he had removed all the innards, using the cabinet for
storage.

I still have the lovely full-length cabinet, with its many
memories. The big, flat lid always let down very slowly by means of
double air-check valves. I did manage to salvage the fine electric
motor that ran the turntable. All the rest of the big Orthophonic
was a- cousticnon-electrically amplified. But its big speaker,
reaching from the floor to the top of the cabinet, made you feel
you were right in the concert hall. If only I could find a similar
speaker and parts from another model, just like it, I would try and
rebuild my big Orthophonic phonograph. Or if some reader would
happen to have a similar model for sale, I would appreciate hearing
about it, if not too far away.

Anyway, I have this one more phonograph to go either repair my
present cabinet, or buy another and then my collection stops.

Did I say earlier that we humans are preoccupied with trivia?
Yes and I am one of the most guilty. This I feel more keenly each
evening as, before retiring, I read a chapter or two of the Bible.
How man’s real mission in life should be that of helping his
neighbor and every creature he comes in contact with to a better
life. Sometimes, instead of the Bible, I read Halley’s Handbook
of the Bible. Mr. Henry H. Halley was one of the great interpreters
of the Bible, having compiled a little compact volume for easy
carrying and handling. And he continued his work till he was well
up into his nineties. Last night, not being able to find my Bible
handy, I read the Halley account of the crucifixion. Mr. Halley
possessed a very effective insight into the background of the
Bible. For instance, he relates how Jesus was tied to a post, in a
stooping fashion, and lashed with leather thongs with tips of metal
in them, till the back became a bloody mass. Often prisoners died
with such floggings. On the cross He endured Hell, that we might be
saved from going there. His own closest followers stood afar off,
thinking that since he was going to die, the Kingdom He preached
about was going to come to an early end. Only the one thief,
hanging on a similar cross at His side, repented, and seemed to
believe enough in His Kingdom to ask Him, ‘Lord, when you come
into your Kingdom, remember me.’

To him Jesus replied, ‘I say unto you, today thou shalt be
with me in Paradise.’

A repentant thief, in his last gasping breath, became more
faithful a Christian than those who had followed closely in His own
personal ministry. What miracles the Christian Faith can perform.
God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. Dying for our
sins, He took yet another sinner with Him to heaven.

And speaking of helping our fellow men, I want to repeat the
benefits of taking Wheat Germ for strengthening the heart. More and
more the evidence is piling up how Wheat Germ can rebuild the
heart. Get a bottle of Wheat Germ capsules, at almost any drug
store, and take a couple each morning. It’s only a natural
food, not a medicine. You need no prescription. Men used to not
have the heart trouble they now have since we’ve been eating
white flour with the Wheat Germ taken out. Now it’s our worst
killer in America.

Also acquire the habit of taking a couple teaspoons of granular
Lecithin at each meal. It’s delicious, melts in the mouth, has
a grainy, wheat-like flavor, is made of soy bean, and helps clear
cholesterol out of the blood vessels. It also is good for clearing
the mind and memory, a benefit to the entire body. You can get
Lecithin (granular form) at almost all drug stores and Health Food
Stores. Just look around and inquire. You’ll find it.

Blackstrap Molasses (not refined) is a great health food. You
can mix it with many foods, but I take mine with a little water. It
has many beneficial minerals, and is also a great help in
arthritis. Health Food Stores have it. Elevators use it in
livestock feed. We ought to think as much about our own health as
we do our livestock. Take a tablespoon or two each day.

By all means, if you want a lift of good feeling in life, get a
bottle of Brewers Yeast tablets. Take four at each mealtime.
Don’t use Baker’s Yeast. That’s not so good for you.
You can get Brewers Yeast at many drug stores now. More people have
come to demand health foods, and the drug stores are now beginning
to stock some now that people are becoming more health-food
conscious instead of taking so much laboratory medicine.

Always give Nature time to heal. She works slowly. And remember,
you didn’t get the way you are overnight either. That took
plenty of time, too-living the wrong way.

Here of late I’ve been taking some long walks each night
before retiring. It’s like discovering new life all over again.
I started out walking only a few blocks say six or eight, then ten.
Each night I lengthened the trek, and now I walk about twenty or
more blocks at a time. Walking is considered to be the best
all-around exercise we can indulge in. For years I have devised
mechanical means for re-aligning my spine from an injury received
as a boy. It became so serious that, when I was only in my
twenties, I was able to get out of bed in the morning only by using
my shoulder and arm muscles. The bottom portion of my body was in
such pain I could barely move. For the last few years, I have left
off using my ‘back stretcher’, after it had accomplished
its main objective of re-aligning my spine. Now I have even tapered
off with the five-hundred or more body-twisting exercises each
evening, and get my main exercise from walking. Walking is not only
less boring than routine exercises in one place, but I am finding
that it tones up all the muscles of the body, and the last
remaining effects of my old sacroiliac trouble have all but
disappeared, including the hemorrhoids which usually plague such
cases.

Learn to walk all over again! We Americans always hop into a car
to travel to the next block. Let’s take a lesson from our new
China friends. They ride bicycles instead of cars. That’s great
exercise and fun too. But walking beats them all. It gives poise,
stamina, and helps strengthen a weak back, as well as stimulates
the entire circulatory system. But keep at it, each evening. If you
do much walking in the daytime, your neighbors will phone the
asylum. Do it at night. You can think better, too. And each night
you’ll get a little better, till in a few weeks you won’t
think it’s the same person doing it.

Let’s help the body help itself. Good natural food
supplements, good exercise.

And now here’s one. For the last couple years I actually
thought I was going deaf in my left ear. I found it difficult
listening to my Edison music and conversation. Several weeks ago I
began massaging the left side of my neck. The hearing came back.
Now it’s here to stay. Try massaging thoroughly the side of
your neck, beneath the affected ear. Many times people think
they’re going deaf in one ear, when it’s only stoppage in
the Eustachian tubes. Massage the throat deeply and firmly. It
won’t cost you any more that way. And you don’t need a drug
store prescription to do it!

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