The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.


Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. I'm a hope'n this letter finds all think'n of pleasant days ahead. Everyone had a chance at check'n out old days at Hamilton.

Come'n up are nostalgic days at Mt. Pleasant, IA as well as elsewhere. Illinois and Iowa state fairs are in full swing.

The Prime Beef Festival at Monmouth with the steer show at Roseville, for the first time, is also a treat to look forward to. Best of all on the horizon is cooler weather.

Harvest will not be far behind. Many corn fields now show ears that are maturing fast. Corn harvest has engaged already in Southeast Illinois.

One local feller last week showed up at an elevator with new corn from his field testing 32%. It was 108 day maturity corn. There are several local farmers predict'n corn harvest for them will start soon after labor day.

That reminds me of an incident a few years back when one neighbor spotted another neighbor drive'n a tractor and wagon load of corn to the local elevator. It was a bit early in the fall season for corn harvest.

However, the one neighbor bragged on always be'n' amongst the first with corn harvest. It seems he correlated early harvest to the assumption he was one of the better farmers in the community.

He quickly proceeds to get out his handy John Deere Model 45 self-propelled combine and began filling his own wagon.

It seemed difficult to make the proper adjustments on his machine to get all the kernels off the cob. It almost seemed perhaps he was grind'n much of the corn.

The moisture level of the corn allowed him to pile it high in the wagon without it roll'n over the sides as it can roll and slide later in the season when the corn has field dried quite a bit.

These were the days before relatively inexpensive hand held moisture testers. It did enter his mind a time or two that the calendar seemed to indicate it was rather too early to begin harvest'n corn. Harvest just wasn't going right as he normally remembered it.

But, hey, if'n his neighbor had beat him to the harvesting punch, he could at least match the early bird by deliver'n a load on the same day.

Finish'n up fill'n the wagon load of corn heaped up all showy like, he headed to town proud as a peacock on his model "A" John Deere tractor and flare box wagon of corn.

Those were much simpler and more laid back days than many folk experience now a days.

Arrive'n at the elevator he pulled onto the scales and carried a coffee can into the office loaded with fresh field shelled corn.

His hope was that while his neighbor may have beat him to town with the first load of new corn maybe his sample would be drier to demonstrate his prowess.

He pranced right by four local boys lazily play'n euchre, as if'n they had noth'n else better to do. Chest puffed up, can of corn held high, he marched, high step'n it, right in front of them sluggards.

He slammed the can down on the counter, get'n everyone's attention, include'n the manager, who was in the back room look'n after book work.

Come'n out, the manager inquired "What ya got there in the coffee can?" "This year's fresh harvested corn right from my field next to the road", was the reply.

The manager asked, "What do you want me to do with it?"

"Why, test it right now," was the answer. "And let's have a comparison on moisture levels to my neighbor's corn delivered here earlier."

Whilst test'n the corn the manager proclaimed this to be a strange comparison, for the neighbor's corn was dry test'n 13.5%, straight from the bottom of his bin, the last of the previous season's corn.

What an embarrassment, for the coffee can fresh harvested corn tested well beyond 30%.

The boys quit play'n cards by now and devoted their full attention to the matter. They had a series of deep full belly laughs on the mistake.

The wagon load of corn was humbly pulled back to the farm to be quietly and quickly fed to livestock.

The combine was put away and the poor feller had a hard time live'n the matter down for a number of years.

The boys brought up the beer tent again this week but it was suggested enough had been said on it for now.

We all knew where everyone stood on the matter include'n Bill Jones who was not in complete agreement with his friends on the topic.

Sandy Bob made a point very clear that he wanted to share with us. He stated that the Warren County Fairboard and the 4-H group are for the most part two separate entities.

In a way, the 4-H group are guests on the fairgrounds at the Roseville fair. They have to abide by the rules and guidelines set by the fair board's directors.

As such, Carol Wilcoxen and for that matter Bill Riechow had no control over the beer tent or its activities. Carol's skirts, was clean and the beer tent was out of her control.

That being explained, the boys felt mighty bad that anyone, other than those fairboard members directly involved in decide'n in favor of a beer tent at the fair, were chastised in their discussions.

Everyone agreed with ole Sandy Bob and asked that a strong effort be made to express their appreciation for the hard and untiring work put forward by 4-H leaders, the extension folk, and especially Carol Wilcoxen.

In addition they asked if'n there was some way to separate the 4-H activities from the beer tent activities.

Is it possible, they asked, to have the 4-H events perhaps one day earlier than when the beer tent shows up?

Maybe a different location all together for 4-H would be in order? Is there some rule keeping them from joinin' the Warren County 4-H groups with Henderson and Hancock Counties' groups.

Would it be possible to seek outside fundin' from within our local communities, from local businesses and benevolent individuals?

Extension service is change'n rapidly and outside government fundin' is just one part of many dramatic budget cuts. This fall, extension services with in several counties, will be combined.

Our existing extension personnel may not be allowed to work as they have in the past and really at this time don't know what the future holds.

All the boys had strong supportive feel'ns for the Extension folk and those who so faithfully have made it such a tremendous success over the years. They were saddened indeed by the direction all this seems to be taking.

They were in complete agreement, however, that if'n the Extension service, 4-H and associated services are to be saved, action to preserve as much as possible must be aggressive.

It will take deep involvement by local folk just as in the past.

County taxpayers supported Extension some years back by vote'n in a special tax to help subsidize it and keep it active.

Maybe there are other ways that can help as well.

Greater problems than these has been conquered by Western Illinois folk in the past.

The boys asked, "What say we rise to the occasion and try to preserve the good that remains in our wonderful communities? Let by gones be by gones."

It seemed the beer tent topic was being laid to rest until Fess McGee with her "Grim Reaper" tattoo, tribe of children, fourth live-in boyfriend Patty Murphy, and a handful of left-over food stamps caught a few of the boys in front of the grocery store as she was leave'n. They was jaw'n out front wait'n on their wives.

I'm a think'n meself, those that weren't there was in luck fer Fess was look'n for noth'n but hard fight'n.

Patty was stone white from drink and displayed a smirky smile the whole time. Fess used language on the boys they hadn't heard since boot camp basic train'n.

She coarsely shouts, "You (blankety blank) boys of yesterday's Victorian Age should park your (blankety blank) hides in a nursing home strapped to a warm water fountain with your buzzers for help, disconnected, and rot there, make'n room for the next generation who ain't caught up in your old fashioned ways.

"Your ways are long gone. Past leaders and their old ways are no more in charge. Forget them!"

She sez, "Just as the gays has come out of the closet, (blankety blank) so has the drinkers.

We don't need to hide it anymore!" Fess goes on to say "You (blankety blank) old has-been stuck-in-the-mud dogs were the ones opposing sex education in grade school and opposed to hand'n out condoms in the school as well.

Those (blankety blank) boys and girls were going to engage in those activities, so why not (blankety blank) show em how, so they could have real fun without fear.

You can't control things like that anymore than a beer tent, so guys like you has-beens just like to put them young children on a guilt trip. Same way with beer, they're gonna use it.

Fess's hard cuss'n seemed to please Patty for he never quit grinin'. As fer the boys, they never blinked and faced the scold'n in unyielding and stern silence.

Fess said, some young volunteer folk has hurt feelings over the attention given the beer tent. She goes on to state

"Who appointed you old (blankety blank) Buzzards to watch over the young children anyways. If their (blankety blank) parents want to educate those (blankety blank) young folk to the ways of a beer tent, that's their business.

Butt out (blankety blank)!", show'n off her tattoo with arm half raised and a solid fist displayed.

"If you old codgers", sez Fess, "weren't so old and rickety I'd have Patty wrap your canes and walkers around your necks, and I would help him!"

Her children got a good giggle out of that one, and Patty just nodded in agreement.

Nothing more was said. The boys never replied, stone-faced as they were, and Fess, Patty and tribe marched to their van seemingly in pride and victory, a twelve pack in each hand.

The boys loaded up their wives and drove their separate ways in silence, nary a word said, reflect'n on which is the most important-child welfare or a beer tent without injured feel'ns.

Meself, I thinks Fess might have been a bit out of order talk'n that way in front of her children. But then, what do I know?

I agreed with the boys on protect'n impressionable young children from the beer tent, but was spared the vicious venom of Fess McGee, as I was busy contact'n folk to donate funds for 4-H.

Some now figures, in the best interest of their walk'n sticks, "Give up, fer she's a lost cause (The beer tent opposition that is)!

Bill Jones agreed and sez "It's never wise to get in the way of a feller's drink'n. Besides, who wants to get forced into a nurse'n home and be forgotten? Bring on the beer, and let's all be happy and merry," sez Bill.

"Let the children fend for themselves. It's a tough world out there. They'd just as well get used to it. Why shelter them? That's the way it's gonna be!"

Meself and a few of the boys are a hemorrhaging on that thought!

Catch ya Later,

Barnyard Bruke