Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 3-4-13
March 4, 2013
I'm bracing for a big snowstorm headed our way from the Texas Panhandle. We need the moisture here in the Flint Hills, but I'd still much prefer rain to snow. But, as long as we don't have an ice storm, I can deal with it.
Full-time hired farm/ranch hands often live a agrarian nomad's life. They move from job to job and from season to season. Jack Kuvaltings was exactly that kind of hired man.
After the harvest season was over last fall, Jack took a job as a cowboy on a ranch owned and managed by a pithy widow woman. During the job interview, Jack explained one of his big concerns when taking a new job wuz just how well and how often he'd get to eat meals. He told the lady ranch owner that he'd work for lower wages if she promised that he'd eat three-square meals a day.
“You can employ men and hire hands to work for you, but you must win their hearts to have them work with you.”
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The ranch owner promised Jack he'd get to eat a sumptuous breakfast and supper, but for the noon meal she only promised good meaty sandwiches. They finally agreed to terms and Jack started his new job.
The first morning, the ranch lady fixed Jack a generous roast-beef sandwich for his lunch. That evening she asked Jack if his lunch sandwich met with his approval. Rather sourly, Jack replied, "Well, it tasted pretty good, what there wuz of it."
So, the next day, the ranch lady prepared for Jack's lunch two large ham and cheese sandwiches. At the end of the day, she again asked Jack how he'd found his lunch sandwiches. And, again, Jack growled, "Pretty good, what there wuz of them."
Well, that reply angered the ranch lady a tad bit, so on the third morning, to prepare Jack's lunch sandwich, she sliced a whole loaf of fresh-baked bread and stuffed between the halves a wide assortment of cold cuts, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.
That evening Jack returned to the ranch and he didn't even wait to be questioned about his lunch sandwich. He fixed cold eyes on the ranch lady and said, "I see I'm back to one sandwich again. What gives?
What gave wuz his new job. Jack got fired and probably is looking for a new ranch to work for with a better cook.
While I'm on the subject of big eaters, I'll relate a story about a friend of mine, ol' Hugh G. Gutt. To make it short, ol' Hugh never met a meal or a snack that he didn't like — and the more calories each contained, the better he liked it. I'll also mention that Hugh is a literal gigantic Kansas State University Wildcat sports fan.
As the years piled up on ol' Hugh, so did the pounds — until he acquired his current very impressive paunch.
Well, one day when Hugh stopped his farm work and went to the local cafe for lunch, he wuz about midway through a plate-covering chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, with a piece of peach pie waiting on the side, when a friend of his stopped at Hugh's table, tapped ol' Hugh's immense paunch and laughingly said, "Hugh, ol' boy, you ought to diet."
Hugh scarcely slowed down bites, but he managed this clever repartee, "Good idea. I think I'll dye it purple and white for the game this Saturday."
I like this old-timey story …
One balmy spring morning, two young farm lads were walking barefooted across a cow pasture, taking a shortcut on their way to the one-room country school house.
One of the boys wuz full of imagination and the other a more practical lad. About a third of the way across the pasture, the imaginative boy cried out, "Did you see that coyote?"
The other boy said, "No, where is it?"
His friend replied, "Too late, he ran over the pond dam out of sight."
A quarter of a mile farther, the imaginative youngster excitedly pointed and said, "See that deer down in the brush? Oh, you're too late. He ran into a ditch and he's out of sight now."
As they got close to the school and had to crawl under the fence, the imaginative boy said, "Well, looky there, I see …"
His practical friend said, "Don't point it out. I already see it."
To which his imaginative friend replied, "Well, if you already saw it, why did you crawl through that fresh pile of cow manure?"
I've talked about hired labor in this column, so I'll close for the week with a couple of wise quotes about hiring folks. Merle Shain wisely said, "You can employ men and hire hands to work for you, but you must win their hearts to have them work with you." And an old Yiddish saying goes, "If rich folks could hire other people to die for them, the poor would make a wonderful living."
Have a good 'un. ❖
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