The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom of Barnyard Bruke: "Where Will The Beer Tent Show Up Next?"

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. I'm a hope'n everyone is a stand'n up well to the heat and humidity we are experience'n.

Some say this is just the beginnings of a drought Elwood Taylor has been predict'n we have been over due for several years.

Corn and bean markets are flash'n up and down, follow'n the scare on wheat reserves.

Seems Russia and that part of the world is already experience'n threats of a short crop due to drought over there. Short crops have long tails.

Corn in storage has gone out of condition in quite a few instances. Some elevators are have'n difficulty find'n good corn, acceptable to barge inspectors. There are many stories of "out of condition" corn being "tucked" away, wait'n on good new crop to come in to blend with.

With all this heat, there is much speculation on when harvest will start around these parts. Most folk think it will be early in September. The thought is, after last years late harvest, many farmers will be anxious to get at it and get on with a good early start on fall tillage and fertilization.

Others say, after last years wet harvest with high moisture corn and all, they don't want to stand any extra unnecessary dry'n costs and related expenses. Let nature do her thing. Also, quality of grain going into the bins should be much better after nature has done her thing.

Sandy Bob sez he heard on W.H.O. radio, out of Des Moines, Iowa, that in 1870, 70% of the United States population farmed. By 1920 that figure was down to 50% and by 2010 there is now only 2% of the U.S. population that farms.

"That explains many things as to why we are seeing so much cultural change," sez Buster Jigs. "For example, why these younger whipper snappers are a concentrated on beer at the 4-H fair."

Bill Jones asked how that was so. He lived at one time in a community of German farmers and beer was their regular drink of choice. Some of the old diehards even carried it on the tractor and combine with them. If'n you was a good kind of salesman (neighborly seed or friendly fertilizer and/or chemical), they would ask you onto their farm machine and offer you a beer.

"Well, that might be well and good," sez Cornelius Farkwad, "if'n that's how they wanted to risk their lives to accidents and tempt their landlords to actively search for a new sober tenant, but, did they have a beer tent at their local county fair?"

", as a matter of fact," Bill sez, "they did not. They usually kept their insides "oiled up' enough that they could stand be'n at the fair for a few hours without drag'n booze in where it might negatively influence impressionable young folk."

Jasper Jenx sez, he heard from one young booze promoter, actin' like his shorts were pinched up too tight, "that the only thing keeping these fairs financially afloat is in fact, the beer tent!" And, "that almost every county in the area has a beer tent at their fair"!

"In fact," sez Jasper, "one young feller, with the propensity to have his cap on backward and with short britches, proclaims that "Henderson County needs to escape their little cocoon and see what everyone else is already doing.' This from a guy who in 1998 was able to win a blue ribbon at a booze tent free fair."

Now that set a fire underneath the boys' tails with the exception of Bill Jones. Cornelius did not cotton to that young whipper snapper attack'n the Henderson County folk and their culture in that manner. In fact, he pointed at the recent Cruzin' In The City car show Friday night at Monmouth, where a crowd of over 25,000 people lined the streets while the organizers advertised "No Alcohol Allowed." The La Harpe Fred Gibb Memorial car show, likewise, on Saturday drew a large crowd without allowing liquor. So much for the myth that booze is needed to attract crowds.

In fact, the boys wondered if a beer tent was such a legitimate way of raise'n money and increase'n attendance, then when will beer tents make their presence in Warren County at High School sporting events; auctions held in the old Roseville gym; on, before or even durin' Warren County church services; at boys and girls little league ball games; the YMCA athletic events, FFA after school contests, Lion Club fundraisers, church ice cream socials, Hamilton Old Threshers Reunion, Mt. Pleasant Old Threshers Reunion, and the Keokuk Civil War Re-enactment. On and on the list went where everyone felt it should be improper for a beer tent to be stationed.

Would all of these places be a "perfect balance of tradition and expansion" by including beer tents as one point of view puts it?

And, if'n it was improper at all those various places, why was it now proper at the Warren County 4-H fair?

Is it somehow, the boys asked, that 4-H has lost its esteem in relation to the other events where beer tents and the likes will never be offered? Is it related to the dramatic population shift from farming to non-farming occupations, or maybe the boozer crowd has those events in their sights, one by one as they bring liquor and its crowd drawing/money-raising appeal throughout the social fiber of Warren County until beer tents and altered minds become as common as Apple Pie."

"No," sez Buster Jigs, "It's probably not that 4-H has lost it's esteem. In fact, "if'n you look at an average day at a 4-H fair, you'll probably see greater attendance there than at an average Sunday morn'n for a church worship service at any particular rural church in the county."

Buster Jigs says the beer tent is typical of the change that is going on all over our country, right now. A small vocal, tenacious, and stubbornly committed minority of vigilant people has weaseled their way in, to influence the normally easy going and peace at all cost fair board.

After a while they just caved in and gave up the will to the minority. The minority now became the majority, much like what is happen'n on the national level with health care, cap and trade, gun control, legitimizing gay marriages, gays in the military, and gays in active ministry. Relative silence by the majority demonstrated approval to the minority.

The neglectful majority just sits back complacently and allows radical change to steam roll them over. Before they know it their world is turned upside down and they wonder why and how it happened. But, by then it's too late to turn the clock back and return to the "good ole days".

They beg and lament, "We want our country back!" or in this case the innocence of the local 4-H fair. It is now too late and they must accept "the brave new world" they find themselves floundering in. Wrong makes fun and mocks right, until right looks wrong, and wrong becomes right.

"Fact of the matter," Jasper Jenx sez, "those young whipper snappers with their short britches and hat on backwards was educated in a modern liberalized school system dramatically changed by the minority. Teachers, for the most part, has lost control of discipline and parents defend their children even when they've done wrong. The local school board is left with little comparative authority.

"These young folk, used to gett'n their will and challenge'n authority, are now carry'n their selfish singular desire for pleasure and fun, with little knowledge or care of the old morals and work ethic, into the world we have known."

Cornelius responded to Buster and Jasper in complete agreement. He claims he knows them 27 directors and 7 executive committee members on the Warren County Fair board. In fact, he was well acquainted with their Pas and in many cases their Grandpas. He sez, "They are all to be held in high acclaim, right thru to the older generations. They wants what is best for the county, it's youth, and the 4-H fair, he is sure. They are dedicated and are to be complimented."

Cornelius sez, in his opinion, the present fair board's previous generation would have never stood for a beer tent at the 4-H fair and would have cut that beer tent topic off in short order!

But then, in his opinion, they had more grit to stand up to a vocal minority than one would surmise of the generation in control now.

They had backbone, conviction, and the will to fight for what they felt was right, as was demonstrated in the various wars they so valiantly participated in to protect our countries freedoms.

But most of them old timers is check'n the sod out from down under now. Their positive influence and staunch, hard fast convictions are lost. Beer tents at the fair today mock the remarkable history of the orginal founders of 4-H.

Bill Jones wondered about the young whipper snappers argument that "almost every county in the area has a beer tent at their fair". Sandy Bob sez, "That ain't so!"

In fact, Des Moines County, across the river in Iowa, had a booth hand'n out literature going into great detail on the negative influence of the drug alcohol on your child's behavior.

The literature quoted the nations top doctor and public health officer, The Surgeon General, in a call to action regard'n alcohol and provided statistics to back up the negative affects of alcohol. All at the Des Moines County fair, rather than a beer tent.

"Besides," Sandy Bob proclaimed, "If'n a large crowd jumped off a proverbial cliff, with great bodily harm to themselves, do you suppose them young whipper snappers, barely dry behind the ears but with a beer firmly gripped in their hands, would follow suit, hat on backward, short britches and all?"

Buster Jigs then proudly proclaims:"As fer that young feller judging Henderson County as being in a "little cocoon', I only gots this to say: that's what makes us so special and that's what makes him feel so good about live'n here. And maybe, just maybe, that's why earlier, forefathers split off from Warren County and formed their own separate county and called it "Henderson." Even way back then they was not in agreement as to what was right and what was wrong betwixt some of those folk to the East.

"Well," I sez, "this has been most interest'n listen'n to you fellers jaw, but by this time of day, Ma has prepared supper on the stove with fresh sweet corn, tomatoes and other delicious vegetables from our garden ready for my hungry belly.

In the mean time, I'll reflect deeply on what all has been spoken and what it means for our young folks."

To that Sandy Bob replies, "Where, oh where, was Carrie Nation when she was needed at the Warren County Fair?

Bill Jones then replied, as he pointed his finger at Sandy's nose, "You just as well get used to it, fer that's the way it's gonna be from here on out!

Them fair boys has made up their minds and can't dare back down now. It's now a matter of pride and ego."

Well, so much for teachn' our kids you can have fun without mind altering outside influences and try'n for a drug free world.

May God have mercy,
Catch ya Later
Barnyard Bruke