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This is another of those ….

This is another of those …. This is another of those ….

This is another of those early deadline events. Not the TRG’s, but my own choice.

To make a short story long, it all started a couple of years ago. You might say in the late summer of 2017, when a hurricane hit Mustang Island and the city of Port Aransas, Texas. It damaged or destroyed lots of buildings including the condo, Cline’s Landing. That’s where daughter Jackie and son-in-law Bob Loos stayed when they came down to see us and spend most of the winter as well.

That tempted them to try another place, even another state, that being Florida and the community of North Fort Myers. You might say they were persuaded by a cousin, in fact two cousins who were already there. Well, one of Jackie’s cousins, Charlie and his wife Sandy, already had been coming to Port A, but Charlie had a sister, which meant Jackie had another cousin named Nadine who was already living in Florida.

So went the story as they tried Florida and liked it enough to buy a house. At least they called it a house and thanks to Lowe’s and Bob’s handiwork, made lots of improvements. Enough that Jackie decided it was time I came down and checked it out.


Known for her craftiness, which I think she picked up from her mother, Jackie invited another cousin, Kent and Susan Smith from Burnsville, Minnesota, to come over to visit late last fall. There might have been some preliminary planning, but anyway it worked out that Kent and Susan were planning a trip to Florida, namely North Fort Myers in February and might just have room in their car for a hitchhiker, namely me.

So there you have it. While you are reading this, I should be sitting in some lounge chair enjoying some great weather that the Sunshine State is supposed to produce. Let’s hope so anyway.

Since I’ve never been to Florida before, it will be time to check it out if indeed it is the land of oranges and grapefruit, or alligators and snakes.

I have checked out that there will be no mountain climbing adventures as the highest point in the state is only 350 feet above sea level. That is a bit higher than Port Arkansas which was only 20 feet. That probably explains all the damage caused by the surge that occurred along with the hurricane.


There are times I think I’m feeling my age and wonder what is next. That’s just about the time I run into an old friend from Spencer. That would be Jack Staege and I can say old as he just told me he is 96. That does make him a few years older and it appears he is still doing quite well. It is always fun to visit with him and we talk about the old days in Spencer. We chatted a lot and old names came to mind, but most have passed away.


Since we were in a grocery store when we met, I suppose a few stories about groceries would be in order.

We had a couple of stores in Cumberland that had a unique way of paying for your order. You handed the clerk some money, then he or she would place it in a little cup, along with the order slip and then give the cup a fling. The cup would travel along a wire up to a little cage near the ceiling where someone would be waiting. They took the cup and the money, made change and sent it back down for the clerk to hand the change over.

Other stores had these huge cash registers and operated by hand by cranking the handle at the end.

Another thing about those old stores is the lack of shopping carts. You just walked up to the counter and the store clerk would come and wait on you. Every item was then written on a sales slip and normally added up by hand.

I recall Arnold Bruesewitz, at Spencer Farm Supply, was still doing that when I first started calling on him. In fact, I can remember how upset he would get when a salesman would call on him, get out his calculator and add something up. I guess he figured you were supposed to learn to add in school.

It would be rare to even get a paper bag with your order. Mom always had eggs to sell, so the empty egg crate would serve as the handy tote for the grocery order. Mom baked her own bread and canned fruits and vegetables and we had our own meat, so actually the grocery order was probably just flour, sugar and a few odds and ends.

These days you get home and end up with a stack of plastic bags. I have noticed there is a big difference in the quality of those bags, depending on where you shop. In many communities, such as Port Arkansas, plastic bags have become illegal in hope of eliminating the litter problem.


One of the odd things I noticed that was different in our neighborhood at least was that only one farmer had a pickup truck. And that was a pretty new one, a 1937 Plymouth. Naturally he always got the job of hauling oats from the threshing machine to the granary.

There was two choices when it came to getting oats ground for the cattle. Without a pickup it was either have a two-wheel trailer to pull behind the car, or just use the trunk and back seat. The later method served us well. At least we thought so.

It appears to be different today as I see all these big trucks from Northside and Vita Plus making their rounds to the farms. I suppose the few sacks of feed my dad hauled home from the feed mill wouldn’t go very far when it comes to feeding some the herds we see on some farms today.

Times have changed as I told you that once my friend Otto Becker told me in ag class that they had to learn all the parts to a harness when he started high school in the middle forties.

Yet there is something unique every year to see the Amish grain and corn shocks sitting in the fields. I guess for one thing, we never had to worry about ripe corn. It was always so late when we got to planting it and the growing season just wasn’t long enough to get any.