I had fun visiting the family farms in the 1930s - 1940s. Farm people were self-sufficient compared to people in other occupations. Even in those early years of the Great Depression, I don’t remember mother’s family of farmers complaining about living without electricity and other conveniences (these did come eventually). I do remember some outstanding things about the farms: nice clean houses, neat yards, good fresh food (I wonder if they made those pies and cakes especially for us as visitors or did they always have them?). I also remember their long hours of hard work, dusty and sweaty overalls, complexions that were deeply tanned from working in the sun and they seldom took time to sit down and relax except at meal time and on Sunday at Church time.
I really liked going to Uncle Arthur Poole’s farm (located on Highway 76 a few miles out of Springfield. His spacious, white, two-story house is still there and aparrently in great condition). He had cornfields, tobacco patches, a big vegetable garden, a watermelon patch, walnut trees, several farm animals, a big pond, big barns, a fully equipped tool shed and a smoke house for curing meat. He did all his own work from milking cows to repairing his equipment. But the best part was Uncle Arthur himself. He was a good, friendly man who laughed a lot. He even took the time to let me follow him to the fields and ‘help’ him work.
I remember riding on the drag with Uncle Arthur. Drag? Not what we commonly think of today – going in drag, ha. No, a 1930s – 1940s model drag was a wooden platform that was harnessed to a couple of horses. The horses pulled the drag over freshly plowed ground to break up clods of dirt and smooth the field. The farmer stood on the drag as the horses pulled. It was sort of fun riding with Uncle Arthur but did you know that horses go to the bathroom while they’re walking? Even if someone is standing close enough to touch their switching tail?
Farmers such as Uncle Arthur survived the Great Depression much better than folk who didn’t have those farming talents.
It just occurred to me after all these years that our visits to the farms occurred during the summertime. Hummm. Was it because of the growing season (good food) or the weather (cooler in the country)? Don’t know.
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