Adolf was going to get a bull for Christmas. Jack and Tom were brothers who lived in the creases of the western Iowaloess hills. They had settled in a valley surrounded by high hills during the early 1900s. They worked together to clear the flat bottom land and pasture the steep sides of the yellow dirt hills. They built a modest white farmhouse there using their carpenter skills learned from relatives who had immigrated to this area from the Bohemian hills of the western Czech Republic. It was a quiet place to live.
My country boy Christmas gift wish list used to be quite short, but I never said, "I really don't need anything." If you are a young hunter or fisherman, there are certain things you really don't want for Christmas. A new pair of socks dulls our eyes. Underwear puts a lump in our throats.
Christmas trees were few and far between on the slopes and valleys of northwestern Iowa, where I grew up. The trees I was familiar with were cottonwoods, ash, box elder and Chinese elm trees, for the most part. None of them would make much of a Christmas tree, although I'd bet they had been used for that purpose over time. We had two huge Colorado spruce trees in the front yard of our house, but they were 30 feet tall and never thought of as possibly being our holiday tree.
No venison roast will be adorning our table this Thanksgiving Day. No deer with antlers ever entered my rifle scope during the three-weekend season in my part of the world. Not that anyone would really complain about not having venison roast for Thanksgiving. Some of my beloved relatives actually turn their noses up at the thought of chowing down on deer meat, and putting it on the table with all the other delectable treats would be sacrilegious. So, this year we will fall back on the traditional turkey dinner and all the trimmings.
October 20, 1908 - Sold Herman Lang 105 pounds of beef at .06 a pound, total $6.30. October 21, 1908 - Sold Frank Luksan 95 pounds of beef at .07...
If you were looking for a nice, warm Minnesota deer hunting opener, you didn't get it this year. The oak leaves shook above my head at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, opening day of the Minnesota deer season. It was not from a squirrel looking for a nut; it was because my stand was partially leaning against the old oak and my body tremors had set the tree atwitter. The woods were quiet around me as I poured that first cup of coffee and tried to absorb every molecule of warmth that cup would produce.
There is a holiday in these parts that causes hearts to palpitate, palms to sweat, eyes to bulge and unceasing pacing on the floor. It is a time when money spent is secondary to anything else. No amount spent is considered ill spent. All purchases are justified. The holiday of which I speak is not Thanksgiving, not Black Friday, not Christmas.
Where have all the old tractors gone? I don't mean to paraphrase Pete Seger's famous song from my college years, but that question came to mind as I and my wife were traveling south to northwest Iowa a few weeks ago to a family reunion. It is harvest season, now in full swing with tractors and wagons and combines and semi-trailer trucks all on the road day and night in farm country.
I heard over the radio a few weeks ago that a man has two ages that are rated the best of his life - age 29 and age 69. I don't usually listen to such drivel, but this week I turned 68, just one year from my ideal age. I think I might make it. I've reasoned that there are reasons for those two ideal ages. At age 29, you've finally realized that you are mortal and you can make mistakes. At age 69, you really know you are mortal and you know you've made mistakes in life, but now you can freely admit to them. Admitting failure at 29 is a little tougher. Yes, this Wednesday, Oct.
Some things just live a good, long life and then they disappear. The deep woods is losing its summerwear and fall is at the doorstep. The sweet, pungent aroma of decaying leaves permeates your sinuses as you enter and the scent makes you woozy with the fragrance. Tall grass that was green just last month has now turned golden brown with seeds dangling from the narrow tendrils at the end of the stalks.