The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom of Barnyard Bruke: "Fear is that little dark room where negatives are developed."

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. I'm a hop'n everyone is enjoy'n this old fashioned winter we're a hav'n thus far.

Before you get to feel'n too sorry for yourself on the cold, it would be well to reflect for a spell on a U.S. record low temperature set back on January 23, 1971, at Prospect Creek, Alaska.

The thermometer hit -80 degrees F without wind chill.

My thermometer don't even go that low and if'n it ever did, I don't want to be around to read it.

I hear now and again, folk worry'n about the weather, they talk of global warm'n, it's gonna be too cold to go to a meeting, too snowy, too windy, or too icy, etc, etc.

Some folk get to rompin' an stompin' like a hungry dog when those fears get the best of "em and in their worry'n they are just one step ahead of a fit.

There's an old say'n that, "You should never put to sea inna storm" (calm down before you act) but the best say'n about fear that I keep in mind is that, "Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed".

With that thought in mind I just "hang loose" regarding future weather possibilities and enjoy everything that comes my way as if I were a kid again. You'd be surprised how uplift'n that can be.

Mrs. Farkwad and Cornelius invited Mrs. Bruke and myself over to dinner the other day for fried filleted pheasant and rabbit.

It is a tradition going a long ways back for us couples. We call it neighboring as was always practiced in farm country.

These was the days before television. The games we play after dinner in the cold winter afternoons, go back thousands of years.

Any particular winter afternoon, over the years we have played Backgammon which was called by the ancient Egyptians senat.

The Romans rolled tesserae (dice) and played both teriti lapilli (ticktactoe) and calculi (checkers).

Chess goes back to Arab countries and is what is in politics, being played today betwixt the nation of Israel and the Palestinians.

We also have played Clue and Monopoly, Sorry, Canasta, Cribbage, Scrabble, Dominoes, Crow, and even put together jigsaw puzzles over the years. Snacks go with these games such as Rice Krispie treats, pretzels dipped in chocolate, and salted peanuts in the shell. At the end of the afternoon, and years ago before going home for chores, we treated ourselves to homemade ice cream served with homemade hot fudge sauce. It's a wonderful way to make a winter afternoon into a joyful day of fellowship and fun on the farm.

On this particular outing we got to jawboning on today's young'n and how it differs from years ago. We come to complete agreement with John W. Gardner who proclaimed, "Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants". As the conversation went on we referenced Ben Franklin who stated, "Let thy child's first lesson be obedience, and the second may be what thou wilt".

Shucks afire. As the visiting drew on, we all come to the conclusion that, "We was raised by the most noble and conservative parents in the whole wide world". Bar none!

Whilst kids of today eat candy for breakfast, we had to indulge in cereal, eggs and toast. This was after we had already completed a fair amount of outside chores. When today's children have soda pop and sweets for lunch, we had to eat a sandwich brought in a lunch pail, with a pear or apple. As you might suspect, our supper was different from today's as well. For starters, we all ate together as a family and then only after we gave proper thank's for food and our many blessings. Most everything was raised on the farm and with us young'ns labor.

Our parents insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were in a prison gang or something.

They had to know who our friends were and what we were doing at all times.

They maintained if we said we'd be gone a certain time or less-it did not mean one minute over.

We were nearly embarrassed to admit it, but our parents actually walloped us-not once, but each time, we did as we pleased.

Can you imagine someone actually spanking a child, albeit in love, just because they disobeyed?

Now you can begin to see how mean our parents really was in those bygone days.

The worst was yet to be discussed. We actually had to be in bed by eight when younger and nine as teenagers, each night and up early the next morning.

We couldn't sleep "till noon like some chillens do today. You see, in the time today's chillen's sleep, our parents actually had the nerve to break what is todays child labor laws. They made us work!

We had outside chores to do with the livestock both morning and night. Cows to milk, hogs to feed, eggs to gather, chickens to feed, and wood to chop was the norm. Inside the house we were taught to wash dishes, make beds, learn to cook, feed the stove and all sorts of brutal things. I think our parents stayed up late nights thinkin' up ignoble things to do to us.

They always insisted upon our telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' but the truth, even if it killed us-and it nearly did.

By the time we were teenagers, our parents had grown in wisdom, common sense, and good judgment. Our lives became unbearable.

They disconcerted us by teaching and making us follow proper manners, respect for parents, and for others around us.

Proper clothing attire was forced upon us and conformity to the old genteel ways was obligatory. Flesh was to be protected and hidden behind clothing.

Church was mandatory every Sunday along with Sunday school, church picnics, and proper respect for God.

Swearing was forbidden. Even the slightest slip of the tongue, such as "darn" brought out the "bar of soap".

We was expected to be seen and not heard, unless spoken to. And, if'n you began to practice the art of communication, whilst in church or other important functions, out came the razor strap or firm palm of the hand to the backside when you got home.

If disciplined at school you knew what to expect when you arrived home. You were taught to honor and respect authority, which particularly included teachers and preachers, and all elder folk.

Some young'ns, we are told, begin dating at the mature age of 11 and 12.

Our parents refused to allow us to date until much older and then only if it was a school function and that was maybe twice a year at the most. Our regular dates were chores, family, church, and neighbors.

Both Cornelius and I agreed our parents were a complete ruin as parents.

None of us has ever been arrested, shot anyone, taught how use drugs or beaten his wife. Our families served their obligation in the service of their country.

And whom do we have to blame for the terrible way we turned out? You're right. Our mean parents.

Drat, look at all the things we missed. We never got to march in a protest parade nor take part in a riot, burn draft cards, do drugs, and many other things today young'ns get to do.

They forced us to grow up into God-fearing, church going, hardwork'n and honest adults.

Using this conversation with Cornelius, one cold winter afternoon whilst playing canasta and munching on homemade goodies, I am encouraging my family to follow the pattern set for them as it was set for us.

I'm not sure where he got all these thoughts, but you know Cornelius! I feel a bit better and am filled with self respect and dignity when my children call me conservative.

I honestly thank God He gave me and the Misses and Mr. and Mrs. Farkwad the most conservative parents in the whole wide world.

H. Jackson Brown Jr. said it best when he stated, "Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you."

Or as is written in the Good Book, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." -Proverbs: 22:6

P.S. Try wearing a smiley face today. It'll throw everyone off guard!

Catch ya later,

Barnyard Bruke