The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in western Illinois. I'm a hope'n this column finds ya in good spirits and a rare'n to tackle the second half of winter with strong enthusiasm.
Next week comes and January will be over with, and into the history books it goes. Some sez January 2012, along with December 2011, might go down in the record book for their unusual warm weather. Maybe so, but a good many folk around these parts are not complain'n. Them Alaska folk, up north, has been gett'n a pile of snow and they can just keep it up there as fer as me and the boys is concerned.
Last week held some terrible tragedies. One middle aged feller from Galva was ice fish'n over near Victoria, on some fairly thin ice. The ice was about three quarters inch thick. After a bit he broke through and lost his life.
Another feller in Knox County was deer hunt'n and whilst shoot'n at a runn'n deer driven by his son, and he inadvertently hit his son directly in the head.
I'm a think'n both them families needs our prayers and maybe a card or letter of encouragement. It is hard to imagine the grief they must be experience'n.
Earlier this winter I heard tell of a feller clean'n out his mussle loader black powder rifle. To empty the chamber he fired it into the air. The bullet came down over one mile away and killed a girl ride'n in a buggy.
I'm sure the family of the girl in the buggy could use our prayers as well.
Last week I wrote of how electric livestock fences can teach a feller the backward flip, if'n one is not observant and careful. It's an unplanned maneuver with quite a bit of height and action to it!
I can remember one ole neighbor of ours, Dean Zeigler, who made his own electric fence charger way back when safety was not a major concern. He would hook his barbed wire fence straight up to 110 volts. He then replaced the round fuse, for the circuit, with a penny.
No one was ever hurt, that I know of, but its a wonder why not. Today every government regulatory agency in the book would descend upon him. It was a constant danger, albeit a steady livestock detainer. I never knowed him to have any livestock out in the road or where ever they didn't belong. I did see, now and again, some dead varmints from time to time laying next to the fence.
Dean died a few years ago at an elderly age in his 90's. I can readily remember a bad accident he experienced that brings me to a cold sweat as I thinks about it, even today.
Dean had just got back from hard military service in WW II. He had seen some tough fight'n and was thankful to be home safely, and in one piece.
His first year back and he was make'n hay with neighbors. Those was the days of putt'n up loose hay. You would blow it into an enclosed wagon, take it to the barn and blow it into the hay mound.
It was quite a dusty, dirty job but a might easier than when we loaded loose hay with a hay loader, which required much more physical work.
On one particular day Dean was out in the hayfield alone blow'n chopped hay into the wagon. He was on an ole Case tractor with the power take off runn'n steady betwixt both legs and underneath the seat.
The rest of the work crew were up around the barn help'n to deliver and blow the hay into the barn mow.
Soon here comes a strange look'n man, walk'n to the barn, from the direction of the hayfield. He had on a pair of shoes but noth'n else. He was naked, barely able to walk, and a bleed'n like a stuck pig.
As we gazed in amazement of the poor creature, it was discovered to be our good friend, Dean. The power take off had caught his pant leg and ripped his britches off in short order. He was wear'n a military belt and it tore it in two. Those military belts was mighty strong but luckily for Dean not strong enough for that PTO. It happened so fast he didn't know at first what happened.
Dean seldom wore a shirt whilst work'n out doors in them days-hence the naked busted up man come'n towards us in the barn lot. It was a mean, sorrowful, bloody look'n sight!
He was as strong a man as I know'd in them days, but to this day it's hard to figure how he made it out of that hayfield alone. He survived and continued farm'n well into the 70's.
Shortly after that accident our neighborhood converted over to utilize'n square bales for make'n hay. The hay mounds were not designed for the extra weight ya could get on their elevated floors with that compressed package.
After the first season we had to strengthen and reinforce the floors. I've got some enterest'n stories I could share with ya, when we square baled, but I'll save them for another column.
Them was the "good ole days" in spite of the hard work. The friendship and togetherness we felt, as we toiled together, is hard to forget. Dean Zeigler was a "tough ole bird", the likes for which is hard to duplicate.
Be careful as ya goes about this week. Life is good and one should not cut it short. It is short enough as it is. Shorter for some than 'tis for others! Most folk can attest to that fact. Dean had more than his share of near shortness, early in life, with the war and all. Then comes the farm accident.
I figures everyone is allotted their share of good luck as well as bad luck. Some use up their share of bad luck early and have good luck to look forward to. That was Dean's case.
Have a good week and see ya in church on Sunday.
Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya Later