The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Education it turns out is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance"

Greetings to everyone in western Illinois.

I'm a hop'n everyone had a meaningful Easter with worship, fellowship, and adequate time for reflection taking into account it didn't rain on Easter Sunday.

Folklore would have it that we can now plan a few good picnics for the next 7 Sundays without worrying too much about rain.

Should it rain, however, remember: "Millions long for immortality, who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." -Susan Ertz

Besides, April showers bring May flowers. For signs of rain: "A washboard sky, not 3 days dry". Those wantin' warmer weather: "A cold April, the barn will fill".

There was much field work accomplished this past week. A lot of Anhydrous ammonia was applied, some engaged in primary tillage, and a lot of washed out spots from heavy rains while frost remained in the ground was worked over and repaired.

Quite a bit of field drainage tile is being laid, a reflection of the wet spring in "08".

It is fascinating to watch a farmer transform from easy going, during winter months, into a nervous nelly tryin' to get all of this work done in one day before it rains, in the spring months.

No two springs are alike. This year's mistakes will be made on last year's lessons. So be cautious! Keep in mind a cold wet shower absorbed into your seed corn after planting, within a few days affects germination and yields. Watch the weatherman in the earlier part of planting season.

Thinking of cautious. It is a good time to be reminded of farm safety. Getting into a "tither" in too big a hurry can cause an accident. Not providing yourself with adequate rest and intermittent breaks in a stressful day can also lead to dangerous problems.

My grandson participated in a hunter safety course this spring. I had some reservations on the matter but as the schooling went along I could see it as an excellent safety measure. I have hunted with some that could benefit from the course.

Some say that the young folk are better educated than their parents' generation. What they really mean, today's young folk go to school longer. Better educated and going longer are not the same.

Fifty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education turns out is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. And if'n you think education is expensive, try ignorance and see the cost.

The second half of a person's life is made up of nothing but the habits acquired during the first half.

That all said, it would seem in addition to hunter safety, we all could benefit from safety training in general. As I look back, I recall tragic accidents on the farm.

Those include firearm accidents, machinery accidents, auto accidents, health care accidents that caused emphysema, heart problems, arthritis, loss of sight and life etc. etc. Some were fatal and very ugly. Others disabled good men, women, and children. Most were avoidable!

In addition to first hand farm accidents, whilst farming, I spent a spell as a volunteer rural fireman which included the operation of the department's ambulance. The ambulance was basically a used funeral home station wagon.

It was a good thing bringing health and emergency care to our rural community. Not a very fancy operation when comparing it to modern day ambulances, but it served it's purpose well.

I usually rode in the back with the injured, dying, or dead. A man by the name of "Dutch Cool" usually drove. He was an excitable sort of fellow and more than once I figured his adrenaline blood filled driving was going to kill the whole bunch of us.

If'n you didn't have any religion before riding with "Dutch" he shore enough got you started in the right direction during the trip. If nothing else it scared "the devil out of you"! Mr. Cool would usually start out driving rather normal but that would only last a few minutes. After that, no matter what, it was pedal to the metal..Katie bar the door.

He ran thru stop signs on major highways and expected traffic to look out for him, or should I say, "us", including the poor snook we were supposed to be helpin'. I"m not sure who was the more foolish "Dutch" for driving like that or me for riden' with him.

The patient had no idea what laid ahead. In a way it instilled a will to live if only to be around and get even with that dingbat.

I tried to reason with him that ambulances were not exempt from traffic laws. He generally agreed if'n not in an emergency and him not drivin' the ambulance.

Put him behind the wheel and let a little blood appear or the death-gurgle cry out, ...hang onto your hat, "cause "Dutch" was going to "turn on". I'm sure many arrived to their just reward cryin', "What a trip, with a grand finale right at the end"!

Dutch Cool was the same way whilst drivin' the fire truck. He always insisted on drivin' and usually, in those days, 2 firemen would ride on the back end of the truck hangin' onto a bar (this is illegal today).

Others in the department would follow some distance behind and with Dutch drivin' it was always a good long safe distance behind!

If'n we had only been thinkin', we probably would have bought along the ambulance "cause "Dutch" was an accident try'n to happen.

When Arthur Dixon's barn burned down, here comes "Dutch Cool" with siren blast'n wheel'n into the farmstead just in time for his two firemen barely hang'n on for their lives to the back end of the truck. Both collapsed to the ground.

The barn fire was quite a distance from the firehouse and several railroad tracks elevated high above the road had to be crossed. Great fun in those days for kids wahooing in a "Model A" Ford but not a speedin' fire truck.

Those crossin's didn't slow "Dutch" down any. You can imagine those 2 fellows in the back clingin' to the pipe for dear life-feet dangling straight out in a horizontal manner and bodies elevated about 3 feet to the fire truck.

When the truck lit several yards on the other side of the tracks, "wahooo," those firemen came down hard on the pipe breakin' several ribs of one of the men and bendin' the pipe.

"Dutch" was oblivious as to what happened as he drove with glazed eyes to save the world from that burnin' barn. It was all the bruised firemen could do to stay on the back end of that truck tryin' to keep each other from being catapulted off.

When they arrived at Dixon's burning barn, both fell to the ground completely exhausted and in need of medical treatment. There he sat, ole "Dutch Cool" with the barn burnin', firetruck idlin', and him try'n to give aid to his injured comrades!

Notice, I did not say friends at this point. I imagine you know the barn was not saved! "Ringtail" Garretson was one of those clingin' for life on the back of that truck. You should have heard him tell, later on, of his opinion of Dutch's genetic make-up and parental lineage!

Well, safety is important. Very important! Be careful this spring! Don't get in a hurry. Get plenty of rest, take adequate breaks, and save yourself from a lot of trouble, expense and harm.

If'n you ever see someone like "Dutch Cool" come'n your way, head the other direction. You'll recognize him immediately for he's the one with those glazed over eyes!

Fortunately, today's laws and trainin' wouldn't allow such things to happen, but in those earlier days, a fire or ambulance call was a "wild man's event"!

Keep on smile'n!

Catch ya later

Barnyard Bruke