Like a shot out of ….
Like a shot out of the blue came an e-mail this morning to tell me, because of the holiday on Wednesday, the TRG will need early copy. All I can say is, sure nice I was kind of half-way prepared. The date on the paper this week is Nov. 11, which we now observe as Veterans Day. Outside of the post office department, I’m not just too sure how many other businesses observe it. Never the less, many of us will be attending a special program for it. Years ago it was called Armistice Day to acknowledge the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. As a kid in grade school we always observed it by having a special program in school. While it isn’t a holiday, Nov. 11, 1940, will long be remembered. We called it the Armistice Day storm and my what a storm. I did look up some of the history of it and was shocked to know that the weather bureau had no method of knowing what the weather was going to be, or knew how to warn the public. The day started as a warm fall day and, since it was already a holiday, many people had the day off and some took advantage of it to go duck hunting. Especially along the Mississippi River, south of the Twin Cities. By noon things started to change and by evening the area was hit by one of the biggest and worst snowstorms ever. I remember it well. I’d even walked to school in the morning, but was certainly surprised in the afternoon when my Dad came to pick me up from school. Something he normally wouldn’t do. By that time it had started raining and the temperature had dropped from a high of 55 in the morning to below zero by night fall. Hundreds of duck hunters along the Mississippi got caught. Dressed in just light jackets, they suddenly found themselves battling the blowing snow and falling temperatures. I don’t recall the death toll, but it was a lot and cars and trains were buried in snow banks of over 20 feet. For many years I had some old newspaper pictures that showed the blocked roads and buried cars. It rightfully earned the name “The Armistice Day Storm”.
The last week or so we have certainly been blessed with some nice weather. It looks like it might continue for a few days, then cool off some. Unseasonably warm temperatures have been breaking the records with highs running in the high sixties and seventies. Farmers are busy picking corn, hauling liquid manure and plowing, or whatever you call it today. I remember falls well. My brother Harold spent days and days plowing with a one bottom plow with our team of two horses. I saw a farmer north of Chili this afternoon doing the same thing, only he was using four horses. While the fields of standing corn are getting less and less, Northside Elevator has just finished the filling of one of their outdoor bins, something that didn’t get done last year, so we can be thankful for a bountiful harvest.
ÓÓÓÓÓ My borrowed story this week is from the Medford Star-News and is about the anniversary of the Jump River Electric Cooperative. It is the same story many times over as it was discovered in 1935 that only about ten percent of rural America had electric power. When President Roosevelt created the New Deal in 1935, he found that many municipal power companies had no desire to build power lines in the rural area. The President then created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) which was the start of bringing electric power to the countryside. In the spring of 1938, the chairman of the town of Jump River appointed a committee to investigate the possibility. He appointed a farmer, a rural mail carrier, a merchant and a cheesemaker. These four men made many trips to Madison and by November 1938, formed a corporation to borrow $150,000. By the spring of 1940, the first 179 farms were energized with power. The average usage was 29 kilowatt hours. Today that has increased to over 850 kilowatt hours and the cooperative now serves almost 9,600 and has 1,779 miles of distribution lines. That sure sounds like things back then that I can remember. We got power in January of 1940 and I can still remember someone digging the hole for a pole with a hand digger. Our first concern was how we would be able to use 40 watts, the minimum usage.
As I drive around and watch as the farmers take their crops off the fields, I’m reminded of a trip we took one weekend years ago. Mark and I were taking a load of old clothes and other items down to St. Vincent’s in Marshfield. On the way home we talked that this would be the last weekend before school starts. So we got home and talked Florence and Shelly into taking a little trip. We didn’t even know where we were going as we drove out of the yard. Later in the day we found ourselves in Boscobel. Naturally we had to tour the Boscobel Hotel which is famous for the place where the Gideon Bibles started. We even talked to the owner about staying over night. He apologized, saying they were all booked, but recommended a bed and breakfast in Soldiers Grove. As we visited, I happened to mention the beauty of all the hills and valleys and that we were from the flatland just out of Marshfield. He told me his uncle was John Figi and he didn’t call it flatland, but swampland. I guess I agreed as Marshfield does use a picture that resembles something of growing a marsh. Anyway, as dry as it has been, farmers are still having trouble in low spots and always seem to drag a lot of mud onto the roads as they leave a field.
For now I’m playing the waiting game as the counting of ballots is now in its third day. I’m reminded of the old saying, “All good things are worth waiting for”.