Welcome to the year 2014! I’d have never guessed when I wuz a kid that I’d make it this far — almost to the age of 71. The old world has come a long way — much of it good and much of it not so good (in my opinion) — since I wuz a lad growing up on small diversified farms in southeast Kansas near Moran and Bronson.
Looking back from my current station of advancing maturity, I recognize that those were the days of tough economic times for my parents and many of their generation and times of carefree living for the rural children of my generation. The good thing about being poor at the time is that we didn’t know it and simply “made do” and had a wonderful life doing it.
Those were the days of one-room schoolhouses, walking to school, The Shadow and Amos and Andy shows on the radio, then black and white television with it’s cumbersome antennae and test patterns, roaming the countryside on horseback with no care or caution about trespassing on the neighbors’ private property, chile and ice cream suppers with neighbors, pie suppers and box socials and auctions at the schoolhouse, creating our own childhood diversions and entertainment, playing Tarzan in the hay mow, hunting rabbits and squirrels with my dear ol’ dad Czar E. Yield, listening to my maternal grandmother’s ragtime piano playing, and fishing farm ponds for bullhead catfish, green sunfish, crawdads, and the occasional bass or channel catfish.
My high school years elevated my chore status to milking cows by hand and by Surge milking machine, hauling hay bales at one to three cents per bale for spending money, pitching silage from an upright stave silo and then pitching it back into feed bunks, grinding feed, slopping the hogs, feeding the chickens and gathering eggs, separating cream from the milk, dipping “unsanitary and unpasteurized” milk straight from a 10-gallon milk can for home use and drinking it without dying or even getting sick.
Me and my compatriots in those days never had an inkling that in our life times we’d see, and even get nonchalant about, space exploration, walking on the moon, color television, the internet, on-line shopping, global positioning, e-mail, smart phones, near universal air conditioning, cruise controls and heated steering wheels and seats in our vehicle, $200/cwt light feeder calves, $17 soybeans or near $8 corn.
All that reminiscing about the distant past makes me wonder about things that will happen in the near future — in 2014 as a matter of fact. No one is very good at predicting the future so we just have to live in the present and watch the future come to us. Rest assured though that we’ll be surprised, perhaps astounded, and, probably, perplexed.
One thing I can do is wish all my readers a heartfelt very best of everything 2014.
We enjoyed all the Yield clan, except for our eldest granddaughter who had to return to work in Ohio, coming to Damphewmore Acres for Christmas eve and Christmas day.
It was great to see how all the grandchildren are growing up and maturing. We had great fun playing card, dice and board games during their stay and simply catching up on all the family happenings.
Overheard clincher to a political discussion at the coffee shop: “Well, I’d agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.”
Another overheard coffee shop statement: “The reason why baby diapers have brand names such as Luvs and Huggies, while undergarments for old people are called Depends is that when babies mess in their pants, people are still gonna Luv ’em and Hug ’em. When old people do the same, it Depends on who’s in the will.”
I got a quart of legal 40-proof, maple-flavored Tennessee moonshine whiskey as a Christmas present. It is smooth and delicious, not gut-searing like straight white lightning.
Speaking of booze reminds me of something that happened not too long ago when I went to a bar with an old friend. We’d knocked down a few stiff drinks when I pointed to two old, wrinkled drunks across the bar from us and told my friend, “That’ll be us in 10 years.”
My friend turned to me and said, “Milo. That’s a mirror, you dummy!”
Since it’s the new year of 2014, how about closing this column with a few words of wisdom about the New Year. Some wag named James Agate came up with a new year’s resolution that I’m appropriating for my own. He said, “Resolved: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided that does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”
That’s a good ’un. Have a good ’un and then another ’un. ❖