The Elevator Man

As I sort through all the dusty files of my paper “stuff” prior to our upcoming downsizing auction on Sept. 16, I keep finding unexpected timely column material. Since the fall harvest has already started and grain farmers everywhere are dealing with grain elevator employees — and the employees are dealing with the grain farmers — I thought the following poem is worthy column material. The author is unknown, but it clearly was written decades ago. Here it is:


If there is one man, who will merit a crown, 

It’s the man on the siding in a small country town. 

He dumps all the corn and the musty old wheat, 

Then he loads it in cars — amid the dust and the heat. 

He swallows the dust till his lungs are both charged, 

Then he jars it down till his liver is gorged 

And his kidneys are quitting when they get a load 

But he keeps right on toiling in the elevator by the road 

He’s expected to smile at the smut and the rust, 

And supposed to grow fat on a diet of dust. 

If endgates are fastened with staples and nails, 

He’s supposed to undo them without any wails. 

And toss out a joke about Sonny and Cher, 

While he mangles his fingers on old baling wire. 

Then when they weigh-back, he must stand while they 

Chew the rag about weights for near half a day.

 If the price has gone down, he takes all the blame 

And the talk that he hears makes him spavined and lame. 

When the price has gone up, they are several loads “shy”

Of the bunch that they sold — and they try to tell why. 

But if it goes down, then they’ve not quite enough.

They go to the neighbors to get more of the stuff. 

And in storing some grain, when it comes settling time, 

They’ll haggle a week to earn a thin dime. 

We’ve all heard the story of the “Patience of Job” 

But do take the trouble, our story to probe. 

You’ll find that the problems of Job were not stout 

As compared with our elevator friend I am talking about. 

His daily complexes that pile-high per hour, 

He bears like like a martyr; he never goes sour. 

If I’d “Nobel Prizes, I’d hand them around 

To the dust-covered HEROES in our Small Country Town.


My good friend, ol’ Willy Jay, from Mt. Vernon, Mo., read my recent column about having a bad day and he e-mailed me saying that he has similar days that are like grapes —  they come in bunches. Then to prove his point, he listed these real life truisms:

If you’re welding, you will have a burn.

If you’re wire brushing a small machine part, you will lose some hide and the part you’re brushing.

If you’re hammering, you will lose a fingernail and/or get a blood blister.

When you’re drilling a hole, your drilling the bit will grab the piece and spin it around — taking some hide with it and break the bit.

An air hose or a trouble light cord is going to trip you.

Then he added this closing thought: “When I leave the shop these days, I need a needle and thread, or for sure a Band-Aid. It wasn’t like 10 or 15 years ago.”


The last couple of days we’ve had hazy smoke, but not from the Flint Hills burning. It’s the smoke from out-of-control-fires in Canada. Those must be huge fires to cause that much smoke. The visibility today is about 3 miles.


Nevah had this week’s wildlife encounter. She saw a red fox while she took her morning walk. We’ve lived here 19 years, and it’s the first fox seen. I’m betting it’s the critter that’s been killing my chickens. They no longer free range.


I chuckle to myself every time I see “The Farmer’s Dog” dog food ad on TV. In the ad, the farmer’s dog can only thrive when properly fed the carefully-packaged, correctly-moistened, scientifically-concocted dog food. 

I recall the farm dogs of my youth. They lived on table scraps, fresh cow’s milk, and whatever they could scrounge up from the barnyard. They thrived and they lived a long time. Strange, the TV dog food ads, never talk about price. I recently saw a 45-pound of dog food kibble priced at $80. That’s insane in my book.


My words of wisdom for the week, comes from another scrap of paper I discovered. It said: “Quality is like buying oats. If you want nice fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have been through the horse already, well, those oats come a lot cheaper.”

Hope to see you at our sale, Sept. 16. Have a good ‘un.

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