Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Friend Bo

My Friend Bo stopped by today. 

Actually Bo isn’t too well thought of around here but I can tell you that many’s the day Bo has showed up just in time to pull me out of a deep hole.   So today I was pretty glad to see him and told him, “Come on in, Bo,” but he wouldn’t and I had to just stand out there in the wind in nothin’ but a jean jacket and my thermal underwear to hear about his latest project.

And it didn’t amount to a hill of beans but it took my mind off stuff I didn’t want to think about today so I listened like it was the dangest dang project I ever heard and had tremendous “potential”.    However so, I can tell you that even around here there isn’t much of a market for chicken feet.  Bo’s plan is to go over to the Mennonites next time they have a big chicken butcherin’ and get the feet and sell them on the internet.  My part in this project, other than listening and nodding and saying, “You don’t say,” and “By dang, it just might be a money maker,” was to teach Bo how to run the computer and sell stuff on the internet. 

I thought the “You don’t say,” and the ”By dang….”  would probably be the easy part because I remembered Bo from when we were in grade school.  He always had a lot of  trouble with the pencil sharpener.

We talked a little while about how to wash all the stuff off the feet and how to keep them from stinkin’ while they were in the mail and such and then we kind of got down to the internet part.  I asked Bo who his ISP was and he said, “What’s a “eye yes pee,”  and I tried to tell him and he kind of went vague on me so I went back to the washin’ the chicken feet part for awhile.. then tried the internet thing again in a different direction.

“Bo, which credit card do you want to use.  You gotta have a credit card for just about everything on the internet you know.:  and he kind of gave a little jump and grinned at me, which is always unfortunate when Bo grins, because of that fight with Bud Seifert, and he told me he had it covered.  He whipped out a credit card and waved it through the air in little slicing motions like it was a pass to the All Star Game. 

“Here it is.  It come  in the mail yesterday.  Pop always makes Pauletta Dean toss them but I snapped this one up before he saw it.”  I didn’t have the heart..or the energy..to give Bo a lesson in credit cards so I kind of let that slide but I did mention that Joe might be ticked off when the bills started coming but Bo said “Not to worry.  He’ll really be fired up when the profit money starts comin’ in now won’t he?”  

We talked about how to pack the feet.  Because it’s December Bo wanted to wrap them up all Christmassy and call them “Holiday Hen Hoovess” .  “Now don’t that have a ring to it?” says Bo.  I nodded like I really thought it did and Bo promised to cut me in for a quarter of the profits for teaching him how to do the internet stuff and then he said, “Well, I gotta go. There’s a lot to runnin’ a business you know.”  And I said “Yes, there surely is.  See ya, Bo”  And he said, “See ya.” 

But then there was a thing that had to be done so I said to myself,  "Yancy, there's a question has to be asked and you just gotta ask it."   And so I says to Bo, "Bo, what do you figure folks are gonna be doing with those chicken feet?"  and he said   "You wouldn't believe all the different kinds of stuff they eat up in the city.  It;s just chock full of all sorts of ethical people now that eat stuff like squid legs and rattlesnake eggs and such as these chicken feet."  Well, it has never been my way to get mixed up in the mores and geography ideas of my neighbors but I told Bo, "Well, Bo I haven't ever heard of anyone eating that sort of stuff," but he just grinned and flicked a box elder bug off the arm of my jean jacket  and said, "Yance, that's part of your problem.  You need to get up and about a little more."  And he took off down the road.

And I went back in the house and sat in front of the furnace grate for an hour and a half before I warmed up. 

Like I say, Bo always gives me something else to think on.  And that’s worth a lot.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Live in North Missouri and I Had Waffles For Breakfast

And you might ask, “That’s significant because???

Because just seventy-five years ago last week a housewife in Lewis County, Missouri flipped a switch in her kitchen and her life, and ours, was changed for ever. 

Lewis County was the first rural electric co-op to be completed in Missouri and that July day in 1937 was thereafter referred to as “The Day the Lights Came On.”  

I believe Mrs. Anderson, the wife of Judge B.L. Anderson, one of the rural cooperatives original incorporators and Chairman of the Board, understood how significant the changes coming with electric power would be.   She knew it would now be possible to prepare a meal in the heat of a Missouri summer without building up a fire in a cook stove.  Water for laundry would no longer need to be heated in large double boilers before emptying into the old wringer washer that had to be cranked by hand.  In just a few short years wet sheets freeze drying on the line on a January day would be a thing of the past. 

The size of a man’s milking herd would no longer be limited by the strength and/or youth of his hands and with the coming of refrigeration spoiled milk was for the most part a thing of the past. 

As for water, no more buckets hauled from the creek.  One of the first uses of electricity in rural areas was for pumping water and this was a tremendous help. 

Rural productivity soared and the nightmare of the drought and the ensuing depression began to fade.  Electricity was the single most important tool rural Missourians would possess to fight their way back to a reasonable prosperity. 

Some things are simply too valuable.. too important.. and of far too much significance to a community, county, state or country, to be left to the trickle down method of the for-profit-only thinkers.  Some things require a combined effort.  Some things need to be subsidized, as in the rural Electric Unification Act, to equalize the opportunity of the whole community. 

Just imagine if the electrification of Missouri had been left to the business community ..a 1920’s publication of the magazine Popular Mechanics,  in an article on electrification, would have been totally accurate when it claimed that  “Thousands of … rural homes will NEVER enjoy the blessings of electricity if they wait for the high lines to bring it because they are in areas so sparsely populated that power lines cannot be made to pay for themselves.” 

Only when the profit line was removed..(enter the REA-Rural Electrification Act..a government backed program that stood behind loans and provided support and administrative structure to communities seeking to electrify.. and Community Co-ops created by communities willing to commit themselves to the progress electricity would bring)  did the electrification of the whole state become possible. 

In 1935 less than ten percent of rural America had electric power.  By 1950 that percentage had risen to ninety percent. 

When I look at the powerful opposition that was recently waged against Universal (subsidized) Health Care I tend to think about American experiences like the REA. 

Like I said before, some things are simply too valuable.. too important.. and of far too much significance to a community, county, state or country, to be left to the trickle down method of the for-profit-only thinkers.

By the way.  My waffle was really good.