Movin’ on from 50

Laugh Tracks in the Dust


Well, this is the first week of my next 50 years of writing this column. That’s my highly optimistic, and assuredly impossible, outlook. But, look at it this way — every week is like a bonus column because on Jan. 30 I reached my 81 milestone in birthdays. Yep, the milestones have been bunching up lately.

Since this week is a celebratory one for FARM TALK, which was the genesis of my column writing, before I move on, readers might be interested in the earliest days of FARM TALK and this column.

Ol’ Nevah and I, our two young daughters, two Brittany bird dogs and a miniature Pincer house dog arrived in Parsons, Kan,, from a lengthy, hazzardy, blizzardy, move from Pullman, Wash., in a U-Haul rental truck. It was Christmas Eve in 1973. When we opened the door and turned on the light in the home we’d rented sight-unseen, we were greeted with a flushing covey of cockroaches. That was our inauspicious welcome back to Kansas.

I’ll add that we were towing a homely 1964 Plymouth car that we called “Our Ugly.” Plus, it was during President Jimmy Carter’s infamous partial-embargo on gasoline sales. We could buy fuel only every other day. Also, our two bizness partners and their families arrived in Parsons at about the same time.

That Christmas eve I drove a gravel road and cut down a 3-foot cedar tree and Nevah and I made a make-do Christmas tree out of it. We unloaded our U-Haul, and our partners’ stuff, on Christmas Day.

On Dec. 26, we commenced work on prepping to publish FARM TALK. Our office space was 400 square-feet. Six of us — three husbands and three wives — crowded into the space and threw ourselves into the myriad tasks that had to be done..

Folks, we published our first FARM TALK on Feb. 5, 1974. Not only that, we worked every single day, including Sundays (which was paper paste-up day), from Dec. 26, 1973, to Memorial Day, 1974.

By then, our efforts had gained us an economic foothold. From then on, through thick and thin, FARM TALK persisted, even thrived. As they say, the rest is history, and FARM TALK completed its 50th year of publication. This column has been in every issue.


Okay, enuf about milestones and business. Let’s kick off our second 50 years with a little humor.

I admit that I’m mechanically and technically challenged. I’m forever having to seek help for some computer or cell phone problem.

Recently, I encountered a glitch on my computer, and in trying to talk through the glitch with a guy from a “tech help desk,” we hit a lot of snags.

Finally, the techy reached an exasperating stage and blurted, “I don’t think you even know what a hard drive is!”

That aroused my dander a bit and I shot back, “I’ll have you know I’ve driven across country, in a U-Haul, with a wife, two kids, and three dogs, in a blizzard. So, I know perfectly well what a hard drive is!”


Two farmers were kibitzing over coffee at the local co-op. They were mainly discussing the highly inflated costs of everything they need to keep farming.

Finally, the topic arose about their high electricity bills. The keen-witted farmer volunteered his take on the subject.

“When I wuz young,’ he said, “I wuz scared on the dark. Now, when I see my electric bill, I’m scared of the light.”

I think that’s true for most of us these days.


A friend of mine recently bought a new mattress. When we were talking about it, he laughed at the safety warning label attached to the mattress and the warning that it’s federally illegal to remove the warning tag.

Then the conversation escalated into us joking about all the stupid warning labels trying to keep us from hurting ourselves — including the lengthy warnings on TV pharmaceuticals explaining how they will save your life if none of the side-effects kills you first.

Finally, he ended our discussion by suggesting that perhaps it’s time to take the warning labels off of everything and let stupidity work itself out of the human gene pool.

I think he made a good point.


Nowadays the internet is all things to all people, or so it seems to me. Googling for any kind of information is now as second-nature as breathing.

But, I see a bit of irony in the internet. Folks will recall that only three decades ago, the widely-held believe was that people thought the cause of stupidity was their lack of information.

Well, the way I see it, we now know that isn’t true.


Words of wisdom for the week: “For most of human history, the human mode of transportation had automatic collision avoidance and could even take you home safely when you were sleeping or drunk. Then we got rid of the horse.”

And, this: “Once you understand why the pizza is made round, packaged in a square box, and eaten in triangle slices, then you will understand women.”

Have a good ‘un.


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