Wherein the lady's purchases makes work for her man. Electrifying!
The second day at the sawmill left me to pull off and stack by myself, because Red Hurd had a prior commitment. But Grandpa was there, brighter than a penny and chirkier than Pollyanna. "Waal," he enthused, "Old Sol'll be up in a minute. God has started His day; we best be gettin' ours started."
"Grandpa, your enthusiasm is less contagious than it is irritating at this hour."
"Lad, you are in for a miserable and probably difficult life, you don't re-adjust your attitude."
"Aw," I replied, "you know I'm only funning with you."
"Yeah, I know. But I'm tellin' the truth. Come on, let's fire up that mill."
It was a smooth morning of good work, even if we were short-handed. We finished the last log just before eleven o'clock. We all sat down by the pump, had us each a long draught of cool water. Uncle Jep said, "Sam, you din't finish tellin' whut Mary and Margaret bought over to Lamar thet day." Grandpa and I both near fainted, we were so taken aback. Could this be, that Jep Miller was asking someone else to spin a yarn? Seems it was, for he said, "Go on, now, Sam. We been waitin' since yestiddy to get the wherefores of your tale."
"Waal, I told you the womenfolk got in the truck, and Mary tells me to drive on over to the loading dock at the Mercantile. So I did it. There was a stack of boxes yea high waitin' for us. Mark Todd was standing there with the lading recipe for me to sign. The first box warn't too heavy, maybe twenty, twenty-five pound. The next two were real light. Now what could that be? Those women haven't been hornswoggled into buying two boxes of air, have they? The next five boxes were middlin' to heavy, like machinery, I'd say.
Waal, there's nothin' for it but that I tell you what those gals had done. The first box was dry goods and notions, enough material, threads and ribbons to keep their sewing projects going for who knows how long. The two "airy" boxes, no, not air, but foolishments, nevertheless, but don't ye ever tell Mary or Margaret I said that. Hats. They each bought a new hat. Why, what is the world comin' to, woman spend a man's hard-earned cash on such frivolous things."
"Where you been, Sam?" asked Uncle Jep. "Women been purely attracted to folderol since Rachel put Laban's idols in her kip. But get on with it. Whut was in the heavy boxes?"
"That is the part you won't believe. Now Mary went and bought a new Zenith Farm Radio, Tombstone model. Said she couldn' afford to pass it up, as they was offerin' a Wincharger* for only fifteen dollars with purchase of the radio."
"So how much did it cost you for the radio and all?" I in my impertinence interjected.
"I'm comin' to that," Grandpa growls. "I swan, this younger generation have no patience at all." Anyway, the radio was thirty dollars. I mean, do you know how long it takes a man to accumulate thirty dollars? Then there was the fifteen for the charger. And then, then you have to have warr, and staples, and insulators and all thet electrical mumbo jumbo. And it were all in there, too, because that salesman really knew what he was doin'. "How far," he said, "is it from the house to the toolshed?"
"Oh," Mary replied, "see that lamppost on the other side the street, down there in front of Mode o' Day? About that far."
"Good, then. You'll need about 130 feet of wire. I'll give you 150, anything longer than five feet you don't need, we'll refund. Six insulators, box of staples. You are all set to go then. Sam will get a kick out of this."
"Well, of course I growled some," continued Grandpa, "like what in the name of Sam Hill do we need with a radio?" Well, she told me, and I've said no more about it. Set to work and installed the little tower on top the tool shed, ran the wire. Neat job I did, too. Charger not only take care of the battery for the radio, I hung a old headlight from that Essex we dumped by the creek. Put 'er up right there in the kitchen. Why, it is just like daylight there in the kitchen of an evenin'. Radio reception? You would not believe the places we can listen to after the sun goes down, and Mary so enjoys the foolishments that are on that thing of an afternoon. Well, a man shouldn't deprive his lady person of a few little pleasures in life. Lord knows she works her fingers to the bone around the place."
*Many companies made wind chargers for battery operated electrical equipment on the farm in the day prior to rural electrification. Wincharger Corporation of Sioux City, Iowa was one of the premier manufacturers of wind powered chargers. In 1934, executives of the Zenith Radio Corporation made a visit to the factory, placed an order for 50,000 units and took 51% interest in the company. Go here for more.
© 2014 David W. Lacy