Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 2-6-12
I don’t actually collect farm/ag caps. That would mean that I’m serious about the collection, strive to grow it, and work to maintain and organize it.
No, I accumulate aggie caps over time because I seldom ever throw one away. And, over the years, I’ve accumulated probably close to 100 caps. I keep my favorite caps in a hall closet. I keep the clean overflow caps in reserve in a drawer in the basement.
And I keep the “well-used,” everyday caps hanging on hooks in the garage where they’re handy for me to grab one that fits the weather or work occasion – hot, cold, windy, greasy, dusty, or even clean on occasion.
Therein, lies a humorous incident. In early December during the first major cold spell, I selected to wear a blue denim RFD-TV cap because it is soft, has a high crown, and is easy to pull a knit stocking cap over. The cap had hung in the garage unworn all summer. Well, imagine my surprise when, after two months of steady chore-wear, I happened to spot something unusual in the inside top of the cap. Upon closer inspection, I found that I’ve been wearing a cap with a single-tube mud dauber wasp nest anchored securely to an inside seam.
As I removed that chunk of dried insect nest from the cap, I discovered a healthy-looking wasp larvae inside the tube. I wonder if my body heat helped it incubate? I’ll never know because I threw the broken nest out into the yard. Guess it always pays to inspect your hats and caps before you wear them.
I got an e-mail from a good reader who expressed curiosity about my childhood and upbringing. I guess he was wondering if there’s a genetic or environmental reason that explains my unbalanced state of being. So, I’ve decided to oblige that good reader with some background information.
I had a tough time growing up on a diversified farm located between Moran and Bronson, Kan. I wuz a puny baby and only weighed 5 pounds when I was born.
I wuz weak and yellow jaundiced. In fact, the first time my pappy, Czar E. Yield, held me in the hospital, he hollered, “Yee Haw!” in celebration. When the nurse asked him how he could be so happy about such a weak and jaundiced child, ol’ Czar told her, “Ma’am, when you farm here in southeast Kansas, you’re happy just to get your seed back!”
I grew up in big family. It was so big that I wuz 16 before I knew my name wasn’t Fetchwood. Some folks have wondered aloud about my rather unorthodox name of “Milo.” We had so many kids in the family that a new one arrived every spring. My folks got so tired of picking names for their children that they put a bunch of boy’s names in one hat and a bunch of girl’s names in another hat, and, when each new sibling arrived, they blindly drew a name out of the appropriate hat. I feel lucky that I got a “good” name like “Milo,” because my brother just younger than me is named “6-7/8ths.”
We were so poor when I was growing up that when the wolf came to our door, he left a dead rabbit on the step. We ate so many green tomatoes that my mama had to tie kerosene rags around my ankles to keep the cutworms from eating me.
When I wuz about 10-years-old, I noticed that my parents paid my brothers and sisters a penny or a nickel when they were good, but they never paid me a cent. When I asked why, they said because they knew I’d be good for nothing.
When I wuz in my teens, a neighbor I wuz hauling hay for told me that I’d been adopted when I wuz a baby. When I confronted my parents, they admitted: “Yes, Milo, you were adopted. But the family brought you back the next day.”
I got lost at the County Fair once and I asked a deputy sheriff to help me find my parents. He looked at me and said, “Don’t get your hopes up, kid. There are a lot of places for them to hide on a fairgrounds this big.”
It didn’t get any better as I was growing up. I admit, I’m not a particularly handsome man, so I’ve always had an inferiority complex. I think it’s well justified because of the way my parents raised me. The one farm chore that they insisted on making me, and only me, do wuz get down on my hands and knees in the lambing pens so the ewes would take one look at me and eagerly accept their orphaned lambs. Let me tell you, that early experience did nothing to build my personal esteem and confidence.
And, about my education. After finishing grade school in a one-room country school, I attended Bea Wilder U., where I got a dual degree in liberal arts and conservative political science, then backed those degrees up with an agricultural B.S. minor. I can honestly say that agricultural B.S. minor has served me best in my career. But, I wasn’t finished with my education. I went on to receive special certificate in agriculture and motivation. And, now I proudly display on my wall a certificate proving that I’m a fully-qualified “Certified Agrivator.”
I’m sure I’ve aggravated you enuf for this week, so I’ll close with a few words of wisdom about the value of a college education. G.K. Chesterson said, “Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” So, don’t take me too seriously and have a good ‘un.
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