Friday, July 31, 2009


In the early sixties I was approached by some business men from Minneapolis to run for sheriff of Ottawa county. The only thing I knew about the sheriff's department was when I was in high school one night some of us kids were racing around the town square at Delphos. It was gravel at that time and you could slide around the corners so that was tempting. They had a night watchman that mainly checked the store doors and tried to keep the peace. He had no gun, just a long flashlight that he carried. That night he went in the pool hall and called the Sheriff so they came to Delphos and told us to report to the jail in Minneapolis. We all drove to the jail then they took us in to the booking room and lectured us on the danger of racing in town and then told us to go home.

I didn't know any thing about running for an elective office. The men that asked me to run carried a petition for voters to sign, that way it wouldn't cost me 10 % of my salary and they also said they would take care of the advertising. There was a bunch of high school kids that said they would back me in this campaign. They had a lot of energy, sometimes too much. They were putting up posters for me but when they would see one of the current Sheriff's posters they would take it down and put up one of mine. The Sheriff caught them tearing down his sign so he put a stop to that. There were ads in the paper for me that I never read until the paper came out. It was a fun time because you wouldn't know what the High school kids would come up with to support the election.

When the election day drew closer I thought 'why did I ever tell those men I would run for sheriff?'. I didn't want to be sheriff. The day of election came. We went to the newspaper office where they had a large board out front with all the candidates on it and we watched as they put the votes from each precinct on it. As the night went on you could see it was close. After all the votes were in there was one vote difference between us, he had one vote more than I had. Some people wanted to recount but I was relived so said no recount. That was my first to run for a office in our county.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


After graduating from high school in 1951 I started working for a neighbor, Lamoine Baldock, which I had done for the last four summers. I did regular farm work and got equipment ready to go custom wheat harvesting. The first place we would go was Hennessey, Oklahoma. This was the first week in June. It was always fun to see old friends and make new ones. We would spend about eight days there unless it rained, then it would be longer. There was another man that had a combine that went with us and if it rained he would play cribbage all day long, so I learned to play cribbage. I was shocked to see how black people were treated there, not good!

Sometimes we would stop at Viola, Kansas and cut wheat there until the wheat was ready at home. After finishing with wheat harvest and field work at home we would head to Presho, South Dakota. Presho was a good stop. Their fields were large and flat so you could cut a lot of acres in a day. But what made it a fun place was the friends that I had made. The place where we stayed was a gas station with cabins. The owner had a son the same age as me and we were good friends. On rainy days we would spend time together. One day we went fishing. We caught a bunch of fish and were so proud of our fishing. When we got home we showed them to his dad. He said they are full of worms. They are no good. He told us sometimes when the water gets warm they will get worms off the bottom of the pond. So much for great fishermen!

Gordie had a new car so we would go to Chamberlain which was 40 miles away. That seemed to me a long ways to go to a movie. But if there was a good show in Mitchell they would go, and it was over a 100 miles. On my birthday Gordie and two other friends took me to Murdo to a large auto museum. Then they took me to a bar and grill for supper and we stayed there a little long. It was late when we started home and that time of the year it gets real cold at night. Someone decided that we wouldn't freeze so we played freeze out on the way home. This was the last year to be with them. Gordie became a great coach.

When I got home I had to be at Kansas State for football practice. They had talked with me to come and play football so I had a room in the football stadium. They had two practice fields. One was just south of the stadium and the other one was the ROTC marching Field. One day when we were practicing in the south field I noticed a man watching me from the sidewalk. It was my uncle Otto from Parsons, Kansas. He was real good football player in high school at Delphos. They won several games in a row. Minneapolis was a larger school but Delphos beat them bad in football. That created bad blood between the two towns for years.

Jack Lorenze was playing on the varsity at KSU. He was from Minneapolis and he and I played together at M H S. He was a senior when I was a freshman. The first football game I ever saw I played in. It was at Barnard, Ks.

While I was at KSU I worked at the student union. It was an old army barracks. I also worked at an ice cream store in Aggieville. It was called The Fountain. It was owned by a dairy in Emporia, Ks. I worked for a short squatty guy. He didn't eat much ice cream but he drank a lot of Jack Daniels. I had worked there about six weeks when I noticed a car parked out front watching the store. Then one night two men came in the store and fired the manager. They asked me if I would manage it for them. There was an older women that would open the store in the mornings so I told them that would work for me until they found a new manager. That lasted for six months. We put in a shuffle board and would keep the high score for a week then give out prizes. It was used a lot. One night a friend of mine was working and he closed the store that evening. The next morning when we opened all the ice cream up front was thawed. He had turned off the wrong switch! That was the biggest problem we had.

I got to know the KSU basketball players. Several of the starters were regular costumers. We had a special called the Zombie which we made in a tall malt glass. We started with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with strawberries and chocolate syrup, then a dip of strawberry ice cream with pineapple and caramel topping, then a dip of chocolate ice cream covered with marshmallow topping with chopped cherries and nuts on top. It was our best seller.

The owners had two stores, one in Aggieville and one in Emporia. Later on they changed the name to Peter Pan. Today there are many stores and are known as Braum's.
Some prices I remember---ice cream cone .05. Malts, sundaes, floats and sodas .20. Zombie .25. Banana split .30. Coke and other fountain drinks .05 and .10. This was in 1951.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Clarence age 97

All farmers had chickens when we were kids. They were a part of farm life. Some farmers had ducks, geese, guineas and even turkeys. But chickens were standard for meat, eggs to eat and to sell. The egg money bought groceries. Mom would say 'go catch me a chicken for dinner'. We would try to get one of the hens that was not laying eggs at the time. Sometimes we would get the wrong one and it would be full of eggs in the making. I would chop the head off and mom would have hot water ready to scald the chicken so the feathers were easy to pick off. When we were finished picking mom would clean it, cut it up and cook it so it was ready to eat for dinner that day. When we had fryers we prepared them the same way. Fresh killed chicken tasted a lot better than what you buy in the store today.

Dad's blacksmith shop was under a tree and there were always small pieces of iron laying around. One day when I was playing I picked up a small piece of iron and threw it high in the air. When it came down it hit mom's rooster and killed it. It was one she had kept for the hens. I hated to go tell her but I did and she said 'well, clean him and we will have chicken and noodles for supper.

Mom told us kids a story about something that happened when she was a small girl at home. Her parents lived just north of Miltonvale. There used to be Gypsies that traveled the countryside and one day two Gypsy women stopped at their farm. One of the women told grandma that she had a sick child with a fever and she would like to have a hen chicken to make some broth. Grandma told mom, in French, to 'go get that old setting hen and give it to the woman'. The woman said back, in French, 'No! no! Don't want old setting hen!'. I think they finally gave her another hen. If you didn't give them something they would steal you blind. My mother didn't speak English until she went to school.

Darlene's brother-in-law, Clarence, who is 97 years old, tells when he was in 4-H in Saline county in 1926. The Salina Chamber of Commerce had a program for 4-H'ers to start a project to start a flock of laying hens so they would have eggs to sell. They gave him 14 fertile eggs to take home and hatch. They next year they were supposed to give 14 eggs to another kid so he could start his project. On they way home he broke one so was left with 13 eggs to hatch out. 10 of them hatched and 3 never did. So he ended up with 10 chicks. To his surprise, and disappointment, as they grew they all turned out to be roosters, so that was the end of his project. It's hard to get eggs out of a rooster! But, in later years he really got in the chicken business. He put up a large building that held 1,680 laying hens in individual cages. That is a lot of chickens! He said the most eggs he gathered in one day was 1,402.

Darlene HATES chickens! When she was a little girl her aunts all had chickens and every rooster they ever had 'flopped' her, pecked her and would knock her down. This spring we were in Concordia and stopped at a farm store that had some nice looking flower plants to set out. I went in to see about some plants and came out with 10 baby chicks. Darlene said she is never going to let me go in a store alone again!

When our boys were small we would buy baby chick called a 'straight run' which was a mixture of roosters and hens. We would eat the roosters and save the pullets for eggs. One time we had about 200 and they were just about two weeks from being ready to dress. One night we had a bad storm and the electricity went off. The chickens piled up in the corner of the shed and nearly smothered. Darlene and son Mark dressed 125 in the middle of the night. They were about broiler size and they skinned them.

One time we had 12 hens and 1 rooster in a small pen with a coop. It was son Tommy's job to feed and water the chickens and gather the eggs. We called the rooster Henry and he was ornery. Tom was about 6 or 7 years old and he came to the house all upset saying 'I killed Henry! I killed Henry!'. He had opened the gate to take care of the chickens and Henry got out. Tom picked up a good sized stick and whacked Henry who fell flat on the ground. We went back out to the pen and Henry got up and staggered back through the gate and into the coop. He didn't come out for three days! Guess the stick knocked him out cold.

Jesus talked about chickens. "Oh, Jerusalem, oh, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Mt. 23:37 NIV

I have seen this many times, how a hen protects her chicks from danger, and if you ever see it you won't ever doubt the love Jesus has for you. We would let some of the hens run free in the spring and they would make nests around the farmyard. Pretty soon you would see a mother hen coming with her little chicks, usually eight or ten. If she saw a hawk fly over that endangered the chicks the hen would make a certain sound to call them to her, spread her wings, and they would all run under them so that all you could see was the hen. The hawk wouldn't bother the hen. Pretty soon you would see a little head peek out from under her wings. When the danger was past she would just stand up and the chicks would go out in safety.

He will cover you with his wings, you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you. Psalm 91:4 GNB