The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Don't be critical of new styles-even if'n you do have a full head of hair and good look'n legs!"

Greetings to everyone in western Illinois. I'm a hope'n everyone had a good Mother's Day weekend.

By the look of the number of tractors in the field over the weekend mother had a good day knowing her man was gett'n some plantin' done.

Some folks said rural churches that were made up mostly of farmers, looked quite empty come Saturday night and Sunday morn'n.

Of course, the preacher and priest were there, along with non-farmin' folk. I know of one farm family that listened to the weatherman's talk of rain for Mothers Day weekend, and planned a normal big family get-together, with fancy meal and trimmings.

Turned out it was a beautiful weekend, finally, for field work. Men all took to the field, plantin' as if'n there would be no tomorrow.

Seven mothers, 4 grandmothers, 1 city workin' grandpa, 1 city workin' dad, and 18 grandchildren enjoyed a fantastic meal in the absence of 7 hard workin' farm dad's. Gifts were exchanged for the moms and meals were delivered to 7 different fields for fathers in tractors on the go.

The meals beat the thunder out of a sack lunch and the women folk stated the best gift of all for the day, was knowin' pa's and grandpa's weren't stewing over the weather.

Now, the weatherman is callin' for more rain come the early part of this week and the race is on. Weatherman against farmer,-tractor against rain,-common sense against practicality,-safety against injury-good soil stewardship against packed soil from workin' the ground too wet. Just think, one day this spring will be thought of as the good-ole-days. By the time the stories are exaggerated, in our minds over the years, we will have a whale of a tale to spin for our grandchildren.

Of course, stories will exemplify how sturdy and steadfast we were, "in the face of the flood just before Noah launched his ark!" As for myself, I'm rememberin' 1987, "88, and "89 all too well. In those days the trees were a chasing the dogs, beggin for a drink of water. I can't remember anymore gut wrenching feel'n than hearing a combine run with no corn goin' thru it.

We would harvest all day long, from before sunrise till after dark, and send a partially filled 300 bushel straight truck to town just to let the elevator man know we had not given up and was work'n hard at it.

I made myself a solemn promise, in "89 to never complain of rain if'n it should ever again decide to make it's appearance in what seemed the western Illinois desert.

They say weather averages itself out and over the long pull is fairly normal. I don't know if'n I dare to call that to my farmer friends attention or not. In doing so, I might just risk getting my ear drums worn out and my tongue cut off and thrown to the "Rain Dogs." If'n you stick one hand in a bucket of ice water and the other in boil'n hot water-on the average you should be comfortable.

I saw Cornelius Farkwad over the weekend and we had us a nice jawin' session. He was a complainin' of those folks that wear their baseball caps on backwards, with the bill over their backbone. He thinks they's just folks who have n't grown up yet.

The free baseball/seed corn hats is the closest free head covering they can find resembling a Mickey Mouse beany. In reality, he sez, they are just resembling Mickey Mouse and in Cornelius' mind, they really are "Mickey Mouse" in their actions because they ain't got sense enough to protect their face from the sun and all of its harmful effects. Cancer, premature aging and wrinkling of the skin etc. etc.

Ole Cornelius goes on to tell of a young whipper snapper, who tries to farm half the country, planting in his shorts and no hat at all. "What's wrong with that?" I asks.

Well, for one thing Curt Eisenmayer is probably turnin' over in his grave when each of those fancy pants goes to the field show'n off as much skin as possible try'n to impress the neighbor's women outside the immediate neighborhood of his own wife.

Curt spent years as extension advisor teaching farmers to cover flesh when use'n chemicals and for protection from Black Mole Melanoma cancerous sun rays. Besides he says, they gots their own women 40 miles back to their own home and neighborhood.

Everybody, by now has to have refuge corn so Cornelius knows they got to use chemical to protect against root worms. If not, they're break'n the refuge law. (Cornelius never gave a thought that Mr. Short britches might be an organic farmer).

"Now, hold on a minute," I tells Cornelius. In the first place Curt Eisenmayer is alive and quite well, the last time I sees him. So your assessment of his grave gymnastics is a bit premature. "Further more," I sez, "Don't be so hard on these younger critters. It's a free country and up to their best judgment how hard they aims to work for the banker and the United Auto Workers who make machinery on a 8 hour shift.

"How they spend their time tryin' to impress the crops to go even if'n they choose to ride in their air conditioned cab with no clothes at all, except for a Mickey Mouse beanie, is no never mind to me.

"Besides, for those who like to gamble, what greater thrill can you get than risk'n your life against cancer and chemical poisoning. First thing you know," I sez, "you'll be ask'n for a law makin' it illegal and banning shorts as well as nudity in your own tractor, just as they've banned cigarettes in most places.

"Truth of the matter is," I tells Cornelius, "I think you is just jealous because those feller's have a better set of good look'n legs to wear to the field than your worn out knobby knee'd old skinflints. In addition their full head of hair stands out next to your cue ball betwixt your shoulders.

At this time Cornelius changed the subject and quit his complainin', which was my goal in the first place.

Besides, just because Curt has spent 60 years on the Stronghurst Fire Department is no call to think of him as a candidate for the rockin' chair. Shame on ole Cornelius, there's a lot of spark in Curt and many of those older gentlemen, and I intends to defends their purpose and follow in their footsteps.

Catch ya later,

Barnyard Bruke