The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: Battle of the Road Commissioners Battle of the Levee!

"The Battle Of The Road Commissioners And The Battle Of The Levee" Are Worthy Of Consideration

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. May the fresh snow of March not dampen your spring enthusiasm nor mellow your heart for the many new beginnings we definitely will experience in the upcoming months.

Many folk are experiencing a rapid deterioration of their country roads this spring. Some are verbalizing their frustration on their road commissioners.

Road commissioners, as a lot, are a good breed of cat, for the most part, caught up in conditions beyond their control.

Much like the farmer found himself last fall with the unusual harvest we experienced.

What say ye we practice the "Golden Rule" of doing unto others as we would like done for ourselves, and cut these poor fellers some slack.

Why not take them out one of mother's fresh baked pies, extend a friendly hand shake, and thank them for a job well done in keeping roads open during this harsh winter months we just experienced.

Then extend to them your sympathy and compassion for what the spring thaw is doing to their roads, and the extra anxiety and workload it is causing for them. Sugar water is always better than vinegar.

Those living along the shores of the Mississippi River are familiar with the annual "Battle of the levee" which is waged in the spring of every year, when the swollen river threatens to burst its bounds and lay waste the fair bottom lands.

A day and night vigil is maintained by a patrol which guards the narrow thread of rampart separating the raging river from thousands of acres of the most fertile land in the Mississippi River Valley.

It is marvelously like a battle, and when the levee breaks there is an element of tragedy in the ruin that ensues.

The following poem of an unknown author describes it this way:

"The Battle of the Levee"

Haggard and worn, but determined of soul.

Ceaselessly fighting, the levee patrol

Guarded ramparts that sought to withstand

The foeman that threatened the fair bottom land;

A foeman all swollen with power and hate,

Who clawed at the ramparts and beat at the gate,

Crowding and snarling and crouching to spring-

Here was a battle old Homer could sing!

It seemed that the foeman would fail of his goal-

He sullenly cringed to the valiant patrol;

The bottom lands smiled when the tillers were told

"The foe is subsiding-the levee will hold."

And husbandry's fears and forebodings took wing-

They knew not the foe was but crouching to spring;

Then echoed a shout like a bolt from the blue:

"A break in the rampart-the foeman is through!"

Gaze at the breach, O ye valiant patrol-

Here is a sight that will sicken your soul!

Seething and raging, the enemy pours

In through the gap, and exultingly roars;

Crumbling the rampart with vindictive glee-

Hurling its force like a riotous sea;

Leaping and foaming with demon-like wrath-

Sweeping and wasting all things in its path.

Slowly but surely the ruin expands,

Strangling the crops of the fair bottom lands;

Stealthily creeping and claiming its prey

ranging abroad with a passion to slay.

Relentless, resistless, the oncoming surge

Grips the meek land like a pestilent scourge;

Boundless the ravage and fearful the cost,

And bitter the grief when that battle was lost!

Over the lands that were waving with wheat,

Fair, teeming lowlands that stretched at the feet,

The enemy prowls like a demon possessed beast,

Slinking afar to the hills on the east.

Poets have sung of the horrors of strife,

And pictured the wanton destruction of life;

Oh, for a Homer with genius and soul

To sing the defeat of the levy patrol.

There ye have it then-lets keep an eye on the levee and a heart for those levee commissioners and our road commissioners, too. 

Keep on smile'n: 
Catch you later:
Barnyard Bruke