THROUGH THE CHANGES

R. D. 3, Mukwonago, Wisconsin

I am 51 years old and have lived on a farm all my life. During
these years, harvesting grain in our neighborhood has changed from
stack threshing with steam power to shock threshing and gasoline
power and now in the last few years to combines. In my boyhood days
one of the days that ranked right near the top of the list with
Christmas and Fourth of July was Threshing Day with a blackened
engine man arriving at daybreak to get up steam. The slap of the
belt when he opened the throttle, the hiss and snap of the injector
doing the seemingly impossible trick of sucking water into a boiler
straining at its seams with pressure, the smell of soft coal smoke,
the warm feel of fine dust mushing up between a small boy’s
toes as he ran around the machine, the short toot of the whistle to
call the water boy loading his wagon down at the creek, the longer
blast of the whistle to indicate dinnertime or to boast to the
countryside for miles around that another threshing job was
finished.

After the machine pulled away there would be piles of chaff and
weed seeds to play in, but these could wait for a few days for
small boys like the bundle pitchers just had to follow the machine
over to the next farm to help thresh.

See you at Pontiac.

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