Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 10-31-11
My wife, ol’ Nevah Yield, left me this week. But, I knew she’d come home again, just like she always does, after her three day vacation to see kinfolk in north Texas.
While she wuz gone, we had a killing frost and my efforts to cover and save my late-planted green beans were in vain. I did manage to harvest one final picking of okra and got it frozen and in the freezer for soups this winter.
I’ve grown tomatoes every year of my life and I never had a near-total failure like I did this year. We planted 70 plants and all we got for our effort were around 30 pints of tomatoes. The little dab of tomato juice we canned came from our neighbors and from some volunteer cherry tomatoes that came on late.
Guess I’ll just chalk this year up to experience and hope for better next tomato season.
While I wuz batching, my buddy Lon G. Horner asked me to help him sort and ship some of his calves. Of course, I wuz happy to help. We agreed to meet at the local truck stop for breakfast at 6:30 a.m., that morning and I arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed only to find Lon absent.
So, I joined another bunch of old codgers for coffee. I waited and waited until 7 a.m., for Lon to arrive, but no such thing happened. Finally, I gave him a phone call, fully expecting to get my butt chewed, and wuz surprised when the first thing out of ol’ Lon’s mouth wuz a sleepy “Oh, thank you! Thank you! I overslept.”
Naturally, when Lon arrived 15 minutes later, he wuz greeted by a lot of guffaws and smart remarks about sleeping in on cattle shipping day. That’s a big no-no in the Flint Hills.
When we finally got to working the cattle, I’m pleased to say that all went pretty much smooth as silk. We separated the calves and had enuf for three stock trailer loads. We loaded and sent the first trailerload to the local auction barn. Then we worked the cows and turned them back out to pasture.
Then we loaded the second load of calves and Lon left to take them to town. That left me and another ol’ boy named Ken to sit in my pickup and jaw while we waited for the first trailer to return for the last of the calves.
Turns out ol’ Ken and I have a lot in common. We grew up on poor farms in southeast Kansas during the 1940s and 50s. We both can remember horse farming, outhouses, youthful hi-jinx and farmsteads without electricity.
I’ll relate a funny story Ken told me from those good ol’ days. Ken, his siblings and folks were living on a farm, happily living hand-to-mouth like folks did in those days when we didn’t know we were poor.
The house they were living finally got connected to rural electricity. That wuz a big deal. Now, it happened that the kitchen wuz equipped with a gas-powered refrigerator – I forget whether it wuz natural gas or propane. At any rate, Ken – who was probably 8- or 9-years-old – remembers that fridge kept the kitchen hot as hell in the summer and his mom hated it.
Well, soon after the farm got electricity, the family hit an economic lick and could afford to buy a new tractor and one piece of equipment. Soon after the new tractor wuz delivered, Ken remembers his mom telling his dad that she would like to get a new electric refrigerator. His dad thought of a dozen good reasons why they couldn’t afford it – and besides the gas fridge still worked fine.
Well, the very next day when Ken’s dad left the house for work, Ken’s mom told him to fetch a pipe wrench. After he did, his mom promptly disconnected the gas fridge from the gas supply. Then, his mom, Ken and Ken’s little sister wrestled for a couple of hours to get the very heavy fridge out of the kitchen and onto the front porch.
When they finished, Ken wuz astute enuf to know there wuz gonna be a household brouhaha when his dad came home and he forewarned his little sister that they’d best stay far away from the fray when it started.
Sure ‘nuf, when Ken’s dad came home, he saw the fridge on the front porch and told Ken’s mom, “What is this?”
Ken said his mom was a feisty woman who scarcely weighed 100 pounds and she bristled up to her hubby and said, “If we’ve got enough money for a tractor, we’ve got enough money for an electric refrigerator. That old fridge is out of this kitchen and it ain’t coming back in. There’s no supper fixed and there’s ain’t gonna be any meals fixed until there’s a new refrigerator in that kitchen.”
Ken recalls the row went on for awhile, but the very next day the local appliance store delivered and installed a brand new electricity refrigerator and peace wuz restored to his family.
Now, that’s a good story to quit on. So, I’ll close with these words of wisdom about a wife. Comedian Woody Allen said, “In my house I’m the boss. My wife is just the decision maker.” Pretty universal situation, I think.
Have a good ‘un.