Old Farmers And Garbage-Men

I was sitting at the breakfast table idly watching the garbage truck make its rounds when I felt suddenly wistful.  (That’s not quite as weird as it sounds – please let me explain.)

Here in Calgary we have bins that can be picked up, dumped, and replaced at the curb by trucks with mechanical arms.  Occasionally the operators have to pick up extra garbage bags by hand, but usually they just drive down the street and let the truck do the work.

It’s a far cry from the way they did it even a few years ago.  Each garbage truck used to have a ‘swamper’ who rode along on the rear bumper, jumping off to pick up garbage bags and sling them into the back, then hopping on again to ride to the next stop a few yards away.

Years ago one of my friends did that job, and his co-workers joked that you weren’t a true swamper until you’d vomited at least once at the sight and/or smell of the garbage.  It was a brutal job full of heavy repetitive lifting and vile stenches.

And here comes the ‘wistful’ part, because that made me think of my dad.

Not that he was a sanitation worker; although that was part of his job before we got flush toilets.  In the summer we used an outhouse, but in the winter there was a pail in the basement.  When it got full, he’d carry it out across the snowbanks and dump it far away from the house.  He said he only slipped and fell with it once, but that was more than enough.

No; what reminded me of him was the thought of tireless physical labour.

I remember him slinging sixty-pound bales up to the loft of the barn with a single jerk of his powerful arms.  Lift-toss, lift-toss; over and over like a machine in the oppressive heat and humidity of a Manitoba summer.  The only sign of his effort was the sweat soaking his shirt and dripping off the end of his nose.

He mucked out the barn with a shovel and his own muscle.  He worked the fields for endless days in the blazing sun on an old steel-seated FarmAll tractor, without a sunshade or even a backrest.

And when the machines broke down he got out the giant tools.  Two-inch sockets.  Wrenches as long as my arm and twice as heavy.  His days were a punishing round of physical chores.

Looking out at the automated garbage truck, I realized those days are mostly gone.  Farming, garbage collection, you name it; it’s machine power instead of manpower now.  Chores are accomplished with the press of a button from a comfortable seat in an air-conditioned cab.

I doubt if anybody mourns the change.  Those weren’t ‘the good old days’.  They were hard and dangerous; heartbreaking and backbreaking.  Many men were killed or terribly injured, and bent backs and swollen joints and missing fingers are the visible legacy of their labour.

But I have to wonder:  If the work of the future consists of pressing buttons, will the men of tomorrow feel the same fierce pride and sheer primeval triumph my dad’s generation experienced when they fell into bed at the end of a successful day?

And will I be able to give them the same respect and admiration?

I don’t think so.  Do you?

42 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Life

42 responses to “Old Farmers And Garbage-Men

  1. I don’t know. I guess progress hasn’t really reached us as yet. We still have those men who ride behind the garbage trucks here. And being a city girl, I have no idea about a farmer’s life here in Malaysia. We do however see a lot of manual labour in development sites…and our weather is always hot and humid or it rains…I do feel bad for the workers though. Most are foreign workers, who work long, long hours…earning the money to send home to their families. Their living conditions are that great, they pay isn’t that great either. But they work hard..and…I don’t know, for some reason I feel we are cheating them..and it’s not fair and I feel all sad….

    Like

    • It’s a tough call – we’d like everyone to be able to do the kind of the work that doesn’t threaten their health, but at the same time, if labourer’s jobs are available and the workers are glad to be able to support their families, it is a bad thing? I dunno…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Appropos of nothing…and everything…we’re watching the Smithsonian Channel and the “Mighty Planes” episode is featuring Vancouver Island and the Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue teams out of Komox!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hats off to those in the CAF SAR, Top notch, first class people who do the impossible with aplomb on a daily basis. Some of the very best people on our planet, and not just at what they do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m not sure what CAF/ SAR means today but it used to stand for Canadian Air Force/ Search And Rescue squadrons in the Canadian military. If that’s still what it means then I totally agree with you. I had the opportunity to work with a deployment of two Canadian ASW (anti-submarine warfare) aircraft and crews a few weeks before the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was serving with VP-18 of the US Navy stationed at NAS Jacksonville Florida.
        Those Canadian crews were very professional and dedicated and knew what they were doing.

        Liked by 1 person

    • How cool! The Snowbirds aerobatic team trains out of Comox for part of the year, too. The last time we were on our way to the airport there we were treated to an impromptu air show – we just pulled over to the side of the road and watched them fly their formations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I have to admit I didn’t know what the Snowbirds were, but hubby did, so he sent me to You Tube. SWEET!! What a wonderful opportunity you had. Hubby was at the Oshkosh Air Show this year and saw some aerobatics, said it was pretty amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful post and the comments section added so much. Every generation worries about the next.
    My mother’s father was a farmer who could do anything. Retired in 1955. My dad’s father was more preacher than farmer and I think my father did most of the work as soon as he was old enough. My father worked hard, far harder than necessary but that was because if there was a hard way to do something that is how it was done. We grew up doing chores as you describe. I was the only one who actually wanted to farm but NOT if my father was still alive.
    My kids were city kids but they had paying work from when they were 10 – flyers, newspapers. When they were ‘of age’ they were working part time in retail or as my son did in summer, at a large commercial honey farm. When they graduated from highschool, they had resumes to be proud of. Could never understand parents who did not provide work experience for kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The nice thing about work experience for kids is that sometimes they discover a career they enjoy doing, and sometimes they discover what they really don’t enjoy doing. Hubby spent a few years working on the pipelines when he got out of high school, and that was enough to convince him to go back to university and get a degree that would let him make a living without that kind of toil. 😉

      I would have loved to take over the family farm, but I was a girl and that just wasn’t done at the time. Too late now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My oldest worked a short stint at Zellers. She said it was the greatest incentive to stay in school and go to university ever invented.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Concur. My work experience before I graduated from high school gave me a long list of things I didn’t EVER want to have to do again. And at the top of the list was farming. I’ve served my time both on a tractor and working cattle, thank you very much. And I’ve worked in ag-related businesses since then and even owned one for ten years.

          Owning such a business was lots better than working in it, but that’s how I got the experience to own one and make a go of it. We did very well over all, but it’s such a relief now to be able to watch a heavy thunderstorm rip and tear and thunder and pour for hours on end without thinking even once, “Well, there goes the whole year’s income.” We did that more than once. It’s not fun to watch, and it’s even less fun dealing with the aftermath. For a whole year.

          When it was time to move on, all that ‘experience’ was just what I needed for ‘encouragement’ to go back to college. I remember thinking on my first day in engineering school at the ripe old age of thirty-seven, “And now, something completely different!” And boy, was it! Hardest thing I’ve ever done. 🙂

          But it beat the heck out of farming. Just sayin’…

          Liked by 1 person

  4. That song, “Daddy’s Hands” comes to mind. The singer passed away the other day so I was thinking of the song which led to thoughts of my dad and my mother’s dad and the uncle I called on when they weren’t around. Although in later years there employment mostly mental but, they and most of the men in my family, still do plenty around the house. They grew up doing “chores” and if a job needed done, they did it. Daddy often built things for our play or for around the house and yard. If there was a pipe to be replace or a car that needed fixing he was there. My husband was raised by brothers with the same work ethic. A friend spent a good part of the past year building a house for his mother, yes, literally except for the electrical and plumbing, my dad and granddad would have done those too. Other than a bit of help from his granddad, our young neighbor and my husband built that thing inside and out with their own hands because he couldn’t afford to buy her a house or have it built. I am so proud that I married a man like my dad, granddad and uncle. And it is great seeing that our young neighbor follows in the footsteps of his granddad. My husband is only 60 but he says it is time for another generation to step up, his is getting too old. He will stick to building ramps for the dogs and fixing the cars, and mowing the lawn and…well you get my point. I too wonder about a few generations down the road. Down here in the States, automotive repair classes, and shop classes and building trades classes, and agriculture classes, the place that so many of the next few generations learned a work ethic, are all being phased out, half because there is not enough interest and the other half because there is no money. What are we teaching the next generation? Who will the aunts and uncles, grandparents and children call on for those drips and gushes, fences, and porches? Sorry to ramble on, but like I said, I have been thinking about it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Rambling is always welcome here! 🙂 And you’re right; I wonder the same thing. Hubby and I can do just about anything, from welding and automotive; to plumbing and electrical; to framing and finishing; to gardening and preserving; to IT and even sewing and upholstering. We’ve saved so much time and money by doing things ourselves, and we’re assured of a quality product in the end; unlike the so-called ‘experts’ we’ve occasionally had the misfortune to hire when we got tired of doing everything ourselves.

      But nobody seems to do anything beyond their own specialized set of tasks anymore. I guess it won’t matter as long as we always have a civilized society that dictates the rules of work and payment, and as long as you can always find an ‘expert’ to do what you need. But that makes me nervous, ’cause out of the last ten ‘experts’ we’ve hired, I’ve ended up doing the jobs of nine of them who were completely incompetent.

      But maybe I’m just old and cranky. (Okay, so that’s not a ‘maybe’. Get off my lawn, you damn kids!) 😉

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I was thinking about my mom’s parents. Her mother left home as a teenager, because her widowed dad remarried and she didn’t get along with her stepmother. After marrying my grandfather, she helped him run a general store in a small town and was the assistant post-mistress. Together they raised 3 kids. She also helped to care for a cousin who had health problems, among them blindness. She would bring him to Minneapolis for doctor visits, which was 100 miles away. Back in the 1950’s, that was a long haul! My grandmother was not always the happiest person, but she had strength of character, just like my grandfather. Together they raised a good family, instilled good values, and were well respected in their small town of 800. As the local postmaster, my grandfather made friends with EVERYONE, and knew other postmasters for hundreds of miles so it was fun to travel with him. Their store was close to a rail line, so he would tell stories from time to time about the hobos that would jump off the trains during the depression to come and get some food.
    Today, with our cell phones, computers, and the internet, while we have a chance to connect further (this blog is a great example), the reality is I’ll probably never have a chance to say “hi” to Diane face to face like my grandfather did with all of his postmaster connections.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What great memories of your grandparents! You’re right about that personal connection, too – after my dad’s health failed and he had to stop farming, he worked as a farm advisor and travelled all over. No matter where he went, he knew someone. We used to joke that he could show up in Timbuctu, and within five minutes somebody would walk up to him and say, “Lloyd! How are you? Long time, no see!”

      But even though we may never meet face to face, the connections I’ve made through blogging mean a lot to me!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Somewhere, ’bout 20 years ago – anyone working with their hands became the subject of sitcoms, not respect. How very sad. Look at the character factor of all those college prepared folks destroying property. Did we make the butt of jokes the wrong group?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Usually. Ever since human beings evolved enough to create class distinctions, the upper class has belittled the working class while conveniently ignoring the fact that those ‘hicks and yokels’ are the only reason they have food on their ever-so-fancy tables. Or that they even have a fancy table in the first place – somebody had to build it, and it likely wasn’t somebody with soft white hands. Alas, it was ever thus!

      Liked by 3 people

      • el Tea

        So true! Most disturbing is the well educated upper class snob actually might believe they are more intelligent than the lower class worker. That laborer must have a good grasp on math skills to plumb in your pipes and really understand water pressure and how to stay safe working around natural gas while installing your new gas appliances or to work with torches adjacent to gas lines. The laborer may be more intelligent than the business tycoon who has had the habit of taking credit for the good ideas of those lower on the ladder through out his or her career in order to advance their own rise in the business. The small business owners are more likely than the corporate tycoon to treat those who work for them and their clients with better management habits than the tycoon without sitting through endless “people skills” training seminars. It isn’t rocket science to follow the golen rule in dealing with other people and to find workers who are good, honest workers with great skills and then to actually trust them to do what you hired them to do and not micromanage out of mistrust.

        I think there are plenty of examples of those who lack intelligence and deep thinking in our world, but they can be found at all class levels and in any career field. The idiots might be working a trade or may be a CEO of a large firm. The only difference may be that the idiot CEO has the ability to BS far better than the laborer who pushes the broom down the CEO hallways.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yep – the elite think we’re a choke – until …..

        Liked by 1 person

        • The late Southern comedian, Jerry Clower, said something years and years ago that has stuck with me. Jerry said, “There are a lot of people who are educated far, far beyond their intelligence.”

          I’ve known quite a number of them personally. Years ago I worked with a PhD in mechanical engineering who COULD NOT change the oil in his own lawn mower. I’m not kidding. The company where we worked finally got rid of the useless moron. If I had a tenth of what he cost that company in my pocket, I could have retired decades ago. And bought an island to do so on. On another planet.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Amen, Bro! I’m a Jerry Clower fan! Saw him at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, along with Brenda Lee. I often hear Marcel calling for help up in that oak tree.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I was privileged to see Jerry three times. Had, what a fun, funny guy. “Just shoot up here amongst us. One of us gots to have some relief!” Hysterical. And another favorite, “Hot steel balls!” I laugh just thinking about that. Much thinly-disguised wisdom in his stories.

              Liked by 2 people

  7. el Tea

    Both of my grandfathers worked very hard every day. Dad’s father died after my oldest sister was born, but too young to remember him. He worked for the railroad cleaning the interiors of tank cars of whatever they were filled with. If the cleaning required solvents, he went in without any protective equipment or breathing equipment and had to anticipate at what point he still would have the ability to get back out before becoming overwhelmed by the fumes.

    My Mom’s dad was a schoolteacher and a small holding farmer. He grew crops in the field across the road from the house to keep his family fed and had large flower beds in the yard to grow flowers to sell to the summer people who stayed summers in cabins surrounding the lakes near town. He bred gladioli as a hobby. My mother was on the sales force. During the depression he and his wife, who was also a teacher, couldn’t find teaching in the same district, so she took the younger kids and found a teaching position in the adjoining state hundreds of miles away. They both worked from the moment they got up until bedtime. If they weren’t working the fields or gardens or repairing equipment, or preparing food or putting up preserves then they read or sewed or did laundry. My grandmother had an accident in the home that left it hard for her to stand or walk much but she still found plenty to do. Grandpa lost several joints of his right ring and middle fingers in a farming accident, but it didn’t keep him from working double hard to do the things gramma couldn’t help him with anymore.

    I respect my mom’s folks’ work ethic, their value of education and their love of flowers, and honest lifestyle, but they weren’t kind loving people and for that they don’t get my respect. They were judgmental of everyone- no one measured up to their standards- not their own kids, the spouses of their kids, nor their grandkids, neighbors, or acquaintances. What aspects of their kids they did like, were to their own credit, not to that person’s own hard work and determination and they bragged endlessly about those things but then they’d take a breath and complain just as strenuously about their perceived faults. They were shameless bigots who believed people of other races were not in possession of human souls, so you didn’t need to waste money to try to save their souls any more than you would a dog or a horse. They thought English is the only proper language to use, and England the only land to be from. They rejected their eldest daughter’s beau because he had a Norwegian accent. She never married and became the one who stayed nearest and was at their beck and call. Other kids also met with disapproval but got away with it by standing their ground. My dad passed even though both his parents were non-British immigrants because his English was flawless and he was clearly both intelligent and could put himself to any task or fix anything and he was respectful, polite, well-mannered yet stood his ground well.

    My generation had a good work ethic, but as we age, we no longer try to do the hard physical work that our grandparents did. The young adults now don’t have that work ethic. They aren’t mortified to spend hours of their work hours texting and updating and gaming when they should be earning their pay. They think nothing of staying home and collecting sick pay if it suits them more than working. They are fine with working enough to collect disability checks and do little else with their lives. OMG I’m just like my grandparents! Parish the thought! The kids these days will be just fine! They’re terrific!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gad, that last bit is perfect, el Tea. I remember a few of the lectures my sister and I would get about how easy we had it, etc., etc. Then we’d go to the family reunions with all the aunts and uncles and cousins and hear all the grownups laughing hysterically and endlessly about all the pranks and practical jokes and other such “lazy and frivolous wastes of time” that all of them–including our parents!–seemed forever to be involved in when they were kids. And that was just the stuff they’d talk about in front of us. Apparently, there was A WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF we younger ones knew nothing about.

      I asked an elderly uncle–privately–about a tidbit of some tale I’d managed to overhear at one of those reunions when the kids were supposed to be ‘outside playing.’ He said in his rough, gravelly voice, “Well, boy, I can’t rightly talk about that to you yet. The statute of limitations hasn’t run out on that topic. Ask your sister about what statute of limitations means. She’ll know, and she’ll be glad to tell you. But don’t ask your daddy. Words to the wise.” And the subject was closed. Forever. Never did find out what they were talking about. And later, after we were home, I very quietly asked my sister about statute of limitations. She explained, just like Uncle Edgar said she would. And I was none the wiser. She didn’t know what they had talked about, either.

      Perspective is a wonderful thing, is it not? Of course it is. Well, unless you’re a little kid. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • LOL! It’s always a balancing act for future generations to find something to respect about their parents and grandparents, and go forward keeping the good while rejecting the not-so-good.

      I sometimes find myself wondering what will happen when today’s kids become tomorrow’s business and political leaders, by attrition if nothing else. But on the bright side, I think the kids who are glued to their social media seem more globally aware than we ever were at their age, and most of them seem more tolerant of others’ differences as a result. That seems like a good thing… or maybe I’m just whistling in the dark… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • el Tea

        No, I think you’ve got it right. There is always two sides to the coin. My grandparents were racist, my parents were not, but they thought it okay to believe that you can only befriend those who hold the same beliefs as you did. They didn’t see it as religious or political intolerance, they were tight and others were wrong. They had some mystical lock on THE TRUTH.
        They believed that God only saved those who were of the same sect of Protestant that they were and that all others were sadly damned because of not being “right” with God. (Such a shame!) It’s weird to me- they were respectful in their behavior towards others who didn’t share their beliefs and would cook meals that didn’t violate their guest’s dietary restrictions (unless the guest were a son or daughter who clearly became a vegetarian or is on a weight loss plan – only to be different). Their hope is that their behavior will influence their guests into looking favorably upon their religious beliefs and cause the guests to switch beliefs.

        This year has made it difficult for me to live my goal of political tolerance even among family who, for once all agreed on who not to vote for. I heard that the websites that had to do with emigration to Canada were overwhelmed last week.

        You may be right that kids these days are more globally aware than we were at their age, but I still worry. During my school years civil right and women’s rights were new hot topics. My school was 99.5% white, but the few minorities that attended were popular and no one would dream of saying or doing anything hurtful to anyone else. The day after the election a student in an outer ring suburban high school wrote a very racist graffiti on a bathroom wall along with the name of the winning candidate. More than one journalist has opined that Trump’s hate filled speech and fear mongering is partially to blame for people’s racist behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I wasn’t following the debates so I don’t know exactly what he said or how he said it; but if it was as hateful as you say, I wouldn’t be surprised if it causes problems. People follow their leaders, and Trump’s behavior and opinions have just been validated with rabid TV coverage and votes. It seems as though it’s a bad time to be anything other than white and male in the States right now.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok I’m too young to remember much about my granda, ( that’s my dad’s dad) but he was a blacksmith for a collery ( that’s a coal mine) I was about 7 or8 when he died. But I always remember him as a big man, he wasn’t really but to his adoring granddaughter he was, I remember visiting him in his workshop I would have been 2 or 3 at the time. There we huge likes of call outside I was told of for touching it and placed on his workbench between a vice and all kinds of tools none of which I was aloud to touch. I still feel that sense of pride thinking my granda was so strong and healthy doing a job that meant nothing to me at the time. I have missed him loads over the last 30 years but the memory of him never fades and neither does the pride I felt knowing I was safe with him sat on his workbench between the vice had tools, I remember telling my mum and her getting annoyed with my dad at where I was sat, but I also know my granda watched me even when I didn’t think he was. And I know he still watches over me, as do my other grandparents, after all my family hate to miss out on things and would never let being dead stop them joining in the fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like the idea of your granda keeping an eye on you from wherever he may be now, and what a great memory of feeling safe with him among all the dangerous places in a blacksmith’s shop!

      I know what you mean about remembering him as a big man – so many of the men who labored for a living seemed larger than life. I guess that’s why I wonder whether we’ll still be able to find those hero figures among the button-pushers of tomorrow. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. My father told me to go to college so I wouldn’t have to dig ditches for a living. So I went. I decided to leave the Big City and ended up doing what I had to to make it. That included digging ditches and going without indoor plumbing for a while. I don’t do those things anymore, but I remember how and appreciate those who do.
    Many of the jobs Americans hope will come back with the new administration don’t realize that many, if not most, of them are gone because of automation. It is different now for most people in the Western world, but many still have to live that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My parents insisted that all their kids should get college/university educations, too. I ended up living in the Big City for 34 years and I’m thrilled to be finally leaving it! I hope there’s no ditch-digging in my future, though; just some garden-digging that I can tackle a bit at a time.

      You’re right – automation has made things better in so many ways, but not for those who were depending on the jobs it supplanted. I wonder what the solution is…

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Sounds exactly like my dad’s life as well as the earlier stages of my own. After I was born we lived ‘in town.’ A very small town, to be sure, but still it was a town, and our house had indoor plumbing…so I’ve heard. I don’t remember it clearly, because we moved to the farm when I was two and a half or so. Couple of memories of the ‘town house’ but that’s all.

    But the farm? I CLEARLY remember that it DID NOT have indoor plumbing when we arrived, and it took quite a while to get it all installed. I remember dad digging the cesspool with a pick and a shovel by himself. But it was a proud day when the outhouse was gone and the hole filled in.

    Same deal with farming. Two-row equipment, a Farm-All F-model, well-used, and a few years later a new 30-hp Ferguson. Not even a buggy-top sunshade. Just a straw hat in the summer and all the clothes dad could cram himself into in the winter.

    Then, years later after dad had done well in business (and NOT farming, though certainly not from lack of trying), the debilitating aches and pains from arthritis and all the damage to joints and tendons done when he was a much younger man trying desperately to keep food on the table for us and the bills paid. Dad did good, y’all. He lived to 93, but the last sixty of that was painful. It was a broken back that got him out of the oil field and into something safe–like farming.

    And I’m old enough that my early years were pretty much the same, and now I’m paying the price as my dad did.

    The good news is that my sons have NEVER had to do what my dad and I had to do to keep food on the table and the bills paid. But the bad news is, well, I don’t know if it’s bad news or not. My boys were right there when I was doing what my dad did, and they knew what he had to do in his younger days, too. So maybe the bad news is just waiting for my grandsons. They’ll never have to do what Dad and I had to do, and when their fathers tell them about our ‘bad old days’ they’ll just roll their eyes and stick their heads back in their cell phones and disappear.

    Our sons had to work for their spending money from the time they were old enough to do so. Bagging groceries, field work for an oil well drilling company (basically a go-fur, not heavy labor, but still long hours and very dirty clothes at the end of the day), and things like that. After that, they went to college. One has a 2-year associate’s degree, the other a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

    And while they were in grade school, they watched me go through the rigors of getting an engineering degree. So they saw, first hand, what it was like to ‘be a forklift’ and then they saw what the advantages were in leaning how to do something for a living that didn’t require all that hard, physical work in boiling heat and freezing cold.

    So now I have a new knee, a rebuilt shoulder, and I’ll get the other shoulder rebuilt this next summer and the other knee replaced the summer after that. And probably new hip joints the next two summers. If I don’t have to interrupt that schedule for my ankles.

    My boys have a clue. Their kids and the ones to follow? No clue. Then again, it’s not my problem anymore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true – I hesitate to admit it, but sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better about the world is knowing I won’t have to stick around and see how it all turns out. (But with my luck, they’ll figure out how to make people immortal just about the time I’m getting ready to kick off.)

      Your dad digging the cesspool by himself reminds me of Dad’s similar experience of digging the water cistern on our farm, but at least he didn’t have to do it all by himself. One of his last gifts to me was a series of recordings I’d requested, so I’ll let him tell it in his own words: https://dianehenders.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/digging-the-cistern.mp3

      I hope your new shoulder is behaving itself! (But no cesspool digging for you – that’s why you have kids… and machinery.) 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I remember ‘quilting bees’ from life on the farm, but that was pretty much it in our neck of the woods. The ladies would swarm like bees (which is where the term came from, obviously) and finish quilts after each had ‘pieced’ their squares together and set the design. The living room (by default in a four-room house) had hooks in the ceiling for the quilting frame. The frame took up almost all of the living room.

        Oh, and hog killin’s were group efforts too, now that I recall. Huge pots of boiling water to ‘get a good scald.’

        Ya know, I do not miss any aspect of life on the farm when I was a kid. Not one little bit. 🙂

        Like

        • We butchered our own hogs, too – I remember taking one of the eyeballs to school for show and tell. Perhaps that explains why I was never popular… 😉

          Liked by 2 people

          • Ah, got me to remembering coming across a wrapped pig skull at a pig roast. Took me aback just a bit…as I wasn’t expecting to see THAT wrapped in plastic in the garage.
            Remember beef tongue, tripe, head cheese, pickled pigs feet? Farm delicacies. Thank heavens I was a city girl, but my dad grew up on a farm, and we heard a story or two. Back in South Dakota, during hay baling time, there were more than a couple of rattlesnakes that ended up wrapped up in hay bales. Nasty surprises when you’d go to unwrap the damn thing!

            Liked by 1 person

  11. First, hats off and a salute to your Father. He was taking care of his family that he loved. If I remember correctly, one of the alley names for those old basement “containers” was honey bucket……… Never mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Duane Beard

    Dear Diane, Good thoughts! You always amaze me with the range of stuff that catches your eye and attention! As a kid who grew up on a farm when hay balers were still a new thing and a guy whose first real job was a park ranger, I have some perspectives on these things too. I hauled a lot of trash from the campgrounds every day as a park ranger. And I and my partner cleaned, papered and fly-sprayed 19 “3-hole” outhouses every day. Over the more than 50 years of my working life I have done physical labor that really whamped  my ass by the end of the day (farm labor, road construction in Arkansas, deck-hand in the Merchant Marine on the Great Lakes, to name a few). To me one of the real questions is what will we do with all this ease that we gain from increasing automation? Will we turn into a race of fish-belly white, blubbery lumps of protoplasm or will we find new ways to continue the satisfaction of hard work well done? I spent about 30 years working in a bunch of countries (“third world” and Former Soviet Union – 20 years) there are still a lot of people and places in the world that inhabit your father’s world. And I think they war both tougher than we are and on balance better adjusted. Culture always lags behind technology.Keep smilin’,Duane.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never had to make a living doing physical labour so I don’t know if it feels the same when you have to do it, but I’ve spent a lot of long days doing construction or landscaping or automotive work. For me, the aching exhaustion at the end of the day comes with a feeling of peace and accomplishment that I don’t get after a day at my desk. It’s ironic that we now have to go to the gym to build muscles our parents built in their day-to-day existence.

      And you make an excellent point – what will we do with our newfound ease? I read somewhere that the current generation’s life expectancy may decrease simply because they’re sedentary. Maybe the next step is blubbery protoplasm… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s