“I read in your column about hired men,” Gene Reierson, Esmond, N.D., writes. Then Gene, in his late 80s, tells of his memories of them.
“It seems there was one on every farm,” he writes; ”a bachelor, uncle, brother or just some relative or friend that would show up and stay for the winter. Just needed some place to stay and eat. They would help with the chores and things.
“After supper, the deck of cards would come out and everyone would play cards, then have evening lunch and hit the hay. These guys were family.
“Come spring they would go back to their summer jobs.
“My wife’s folks had someone show up and stay the winter of 1977 until they (her folks) moved to town.
“I remember my dad telling of an instance where my dad’s brother (my uncle) played the violin. He would walk across the field so he could play the violin while the neighbor girl played the piano.
“This day, when my uncle opened his violin case, he found a rag doll there instead of a violin. My dad and the hired man who’d come to stay for the winter, had exchanged the violin for a doll.
“Anyone remember the guys who used to travel in the summertime with a cart pulled by a stud horse?” Gene asks.
“They would come toward evening. When they came, the kids got chased in the house. The guy and the stallion would disappear behind the barn.
“A while later, the guy would be at the supper table, and he would stay for the night. He’d have breakfast the next morning. Then he’d go back behind the barn, harness up and be on his way again.”
Maybe others of you remember these guys coming to your farm.
And now, the innocence of youth.
This truth is brought home again by Jackie Marler, Fargo, who writes about a famous (or perhaps infamous) headline from a local newspaper in the 1960s which read, “Fertile woman dies in Climax”, which of course referred to the towns of Fertile and Climax in Minnesota.
“My family moved from Williston, N.D., to Grand Forks in 1966,” Jackie writes.
“One day I remember my folks talking about that headline. At the time, I didn’t understand the implications. But Mom said to Dad, ‘How do they know?’, which I also didn’t get at the time.”
Jackie says when she has some time, she’s going to try to find the original article and headline. And, oh yes, she now understands the implications…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.