Milo Yield: Speculating over strategically-placed sweet potatoes
July 25, 2016
I love fan mail — especially fan mail that includes an absolutely great funny story from that occurred back in the days of my youth, or before.
This piece of snail mail comes from ol' U. Ken Belevitt, who either lives or used to live in Bird City, Kan., — a place where I've spent many a fine fall or winter day hunting pheasants and an equal number of enjoyable evenings eating prime beef steaks and drinking high quality whiskey at Big Ed's restaurant.
But, enuf about the foibles in my life and back to Ken's story. He said his grandpappy is 88 and wuz raised in Bird City by his parents Ray and Florence.
His grandpa grew up on a farm that Ray's great grandparents homesteaded in 1885. Ken sez his grandpa, who now lives in Colorado Springs, enjoys reading my column with it's jokes and stories. Now, Ken wants to share the following true story from the past with you. Here it goes:
"Great-grandpa (Ray's dad) wuz working as a hired hand for a Bird City farmer. One day they had hitched up a pair of mules to a wagon to go out and shuck corn. However, the mules balked and refused to move. Their owner was slapping and hitting the mules with the reins, but they refused to budge out of their tracks.
"About this time, a salesman drove up in a Model T Ford. He struck up a conversation with the mules' owner and the farmer explained the obvious: The stubborn mules were balking. The talkative salesman then guaranteed he could make the mules move and the team's owner made a bet with him that he couldn't.
Recommended Stories For You
"The salesman said, 'Wait a bit and I'll collect my bet.' The salesman got permission to go into grandpa's home, where he got two sweet potatoes and heated them up on the wood stove. He then came back to the balky mules and told the farmer to get up on the wagon, get a good hold on the reins, and get ready to move.
"He then gave one hot sweet potato to my great-granddad and told him to stand beside the hindquarters of one mule, while the salesman positioned himself similarly beside the other mule. The salesman then instructed great-granddad to lift up the mule's tail and he did the same. Then at the count of three they placed the hot potatoes under the mules' tails, whereas the mules clamped their tails tightly down on the hot sweet potatoes — and away they went — rapidly — toward the cornfield with great-grandpa running to catch up."
Ken didn't say how much the bet wuz or whether it wuz paid. But, either way, that's a great story. Thanks for sharing!
Gil, a farmer friend of mine, from Tell City, Ind., reports that his married son came up with a novel way to tell his parents that they were going to be new grandparents.
On the Fourth of July, Gil's son mixed some red colored powder into a box of white talcum powder. He then took the box of powder into the yard and exploded it with a big firecracker.
At the blast, a huge cloud of pink powder filled the backyard and Gil knew a new grand-daughter wuz on the way.
Boy, did we ever get a fine gift from the weather-gods during the week before and the weekend of the Fourth of July.
A cool front moved in and dropped nearly four inches of gentle rainfall that filled in the cracks in the ground and gave a second-life to all the little soybean plants, the tasseling corn plants and all my garden veggies.
Then, to top it off, we had five cool, low-humidity days when the temperature never got above 80 degrees.
All in all, the mud pushed everyone out of the fields so everyone got to enjoy a festive Fourth.
Nevah and I joined a huge group of friends and neighbors in the community for a potluck supper and fireworks display extraordinaire just a half-mile down the road from Damphewmore Acres.
I finally mustered up the energy to put the big spray hurt on the wayward weeds and brush at Damphewmore Acres. Then I put on the brush cutter and spent a few hours cutting the "jungle" of weeds and sumac from the back on my pond dam, then moved on to mow a couple of neighbor's cow lots and undergrowth.
Not many things gives me as much pleasure as chopping up huge weeds with the brush cutter. The "whoomp" when they hit the whirling blades makes me feel good all over.
I get a similar feeling each week when I finish writing my column — and I'm feeling it now.
So, I'll close with Ben Franklin's wise words about weeds: "A man of words and not of deeds, Is like a garden full of weeds." Have a good 'un. ❖