Working as a farmhand

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

Dad worked for a lot of different farmers during his lifetime, for brief periods at least. There was one middle-aged German married to a thirteen year old girl. The people he worked for the longest was a man named Bly and another named Dexter (Deck) Andrews. Andrews was a hard working and parsimonious farmer who had married a prosperous wife. He had a well grown family. Dad remembered his employers, their wives, their daughters, and their hired help. Evidently, there were not many sons around. once did mention one spoiled young brat that was a nuisance. At one place, I remember, they ate real well whenever the daughters were at home and made up for it later.

I remember a number of things that he told of his work at Deck Andrews’ place. There was the time that Deck brought home a full barrel of Sorghum molasses. They got it off the wagon somehow – on the porch, perhaps; but then there was the problem of getting it into the house. Dad suggested that they get on opposite sides of the barrel and left. Deck says, “Wal maybe, but if I say set’ er down, set’ er down!” They tried lifting on it but they had scarcely got it raised when old Deck’s knees started to shake and he yelled “Set’er down.” So they had to Scoop out the thick sticky stuff into other containers until the barrel was light enough for Deck to lift it. Later peck, who was a tall skinny guy, was kidding Dad about not being able to reach as high as he could well, Dad says, “There’s no advantage in being able to reach if you can’t lift ,it up there..”

Deck had little aptitude for machinery and preferred to let the hired man use it. He bought a new horse mower. He had hardly got it home when a neighbor borrowed it — used it a while and brought it home with a plate missing that holds the sickle down at the base. Dad could never convince Deck that the part was missing, he said it was a new mower and it ought to work! Dad managed to mow the season’s hay with it but broke the sickle several times. Deck got the sickle welded each time but never got the missing part.

Deck (or perhaps another old farmer) went out in the field with a horse-drawn corn-planter and planted corn all of one morning before he discovered that he had no grain in the hopper. He was very embarrassed about it and remarked — “If I was a young man thinking about girls, I wouldn’t think anything about it, but an old man like me — I must be really slipping.”

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