The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.


Greetings to everyone in western Illinois. I'm a hope'n this column finds you in good spirits and perhaps cheers ya up a bit.

Weather conditions have permitted many folk to complete their intended fall fertilize and tillage work, or very nearly so, and their activities now center on other pre-winter jobs.

Remember'n the last few wet springs has given much work to those contract'n sub-surface drainage tile work. They are a lay'n it in with a strong fervor. Even a recent farm magazine article extolled the virtues of such activity as money and time well spent.

Last Friday, November 18, Stronghurst held it's yearly old fashioned Christmas Walk downtown. Much activity in businesses, houses and banks was a treat for everyone. Various kinds of live music and dance'n with good eat'n treats throughout.

It reminded me a great deal of days gone by when folk all went to town on special set aside days, either Friday or Saturday, for their trade'n, hair cuts, and socialize'n. Friends and neighbors would stop along the streets, at store fronts, and on benches and "jaw a spell" on ever thing from the weather to whose cattle got out last week.

Some men folk simply sat on Main Street and watched the world go by and to make up for the isolation and loneliness of rural live'n in those days.

La Harpe's special days is next weekend. Mrs. Bruke, me and the boys is plan'n on take'n that in, also.

My advice to ever one is don't miss out on those special day's and plan on attend'n for a good time. We are so fortunate, in my opinion, to have this type of community spirit alive and well in western Illinois! Let's help keep it go'n.

Once you've lost it, difficult is an understated word for bring'n it back.

Last week I gave some say'ns of rural maxims or adages often used to transmit rural values across generations. They also show how some of those values exist yet today, passed on through these maxims or adages. A few more that there wasn't room for in last weeks column are as follows:

This past weekend was Illinois' first shotgun season for this year. Much like mushroom season, a feller saw a lot of pickups parked along the roads near wooded areas and ravines.

Two young fellers I know of, ages 13 and 14, shot their first bucks Friday and Saturday. They were dandies - 8 and 9 pointers. Those boys will be walk'n tall and light footed for quite a spell as a result.

With Thanksgive'n come'n up this Thursday I'm reminded of Edward Winslow from Plymouth, Massachusetts, who wrote a letter in 1621 state'n the Pilgrims received five deer from the Indians for the feast which was, "The First Thanksgiving".

Contrary to popular belief turkey was probably not the main meat dish at the first Thanksgiving. Roast duck and goose along with striped bass, cod, clams and other shellfish, lobster and eel were plentifully available at the banquet table.

The occasion was a three day outdoor event. Tables were made by place'n boards over saw horses and chairs consisted of stools and tree stumps. Sport'n events such as shoot'n contests and other recreations were held betwixt meals. Eating utensils consisted primarily of pewter dishes, wooden bowls, knives, and spoons. Forks were not commonly used during the seventeenth century.

Other Thanksgiving food at the first menu included beans, pumpkins, squash, turnips, parsnips, barley, onions, leeks, roasted Indian corn (the colorful variety we now hang on our doors and lampposts), peas and other "saltless herbs". White and dark breads were served with butter during the feast.

Wild fruits were in abundance. These included plums, and dried berries such as wild blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. There is no historical record of cranberries at that first meal.

Fruit were the primary dessert however, Indian pudding made from cornmeal was served. Pumpkin pie had not yet been invented but pumpkins was stewed and served as a sauce. The only pies there is record of was English-style meat pies and eel pie.

Well there ya have it then. Do ya think ya could handle that over a three day weekend? Have a "Blessed Thanksgive'n" and keep in mind for whom we are to be thankful to!

Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya Later
Barnyard Bruke