Stories in this column about hired men on area farms caught the attention of John Pierce, the longtime member of Concordia College’s office of advancement.
“Hired men in the homes of farm families became fixtures in those homes,” he writes "Neighbors"; “eating their meals there, in some cases residing in the same houses as their employers, becoming an integral part of not only the family’s work environment but also of its social environment, attending church, going to town with them on Saturday nights, and becoming a kind of role model (sometimes not a desirable one) for the children.”
John then passes on this story:
“One of our hired men, in the years following my father’s passing in 1961,” he writes, “became frustrated when the Hercules engine on our old pull-type ‘65’ John Deere combine kept overheating, causing its water supply to run out of its overflow. But he thought he had solved the problem by soldering the overflow shut — except it blew up.
“Mechanics at the implement store at Page, N.D., nearly died laughing when that hired man carried the radiator from the combine in, complaining that it had malfunctioned... exploded!”
Man of few words
John also passes along a story told by a well-known local person.
“Boyd Christensen, the beloved media personality on WDAY TV and radio and KFME public TV, told a story about a hired man on his family’s farm that I’ll always remember, because it could have happened in any farm family’s home,” John writes.
“Boyd said it was a typically long evening after dinner, everyone had run out of conversation topics and listening to radio programs and it was getting late.
“Well, the hired man was the first to give up and go to bed. He slowly stood up and said, ‘Ya, well, I s’pose,’ and left the room.
“Boyd said those words were the only ones the man said the entire evening.
“That was typical.”
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email email@example.com.