Thursday, June 9, 2011

Comment on "Barter"

"Barter" has evoked some valuable memories, none more telling than this by my friend Priscilla in Sag Harbor:

     Each summer I stayed with my grandparents in Freeland, Michigan. It was a working farm and one of the old fashioned kind. We had thrashing in late summer, with the straw, wheat and oats separated by this huge dinosaur-like machine - ending up with a huge strawstack. All the farmers around would contribute a team, a man, etc., which would be returned in kind. After work in the field gathering up the bundles of wheat, etc., before a late lunch, they would wash off in the big laundry tub - outside under the big maple tree - with their sunburned faces except where their hair had hung down, or the straw hats had covered - this with their sweaty, blue work shirts, and huge brown arms.with rolled up sleeves, The dining room table would hold some 15 "men" and the kids would stand around waiting for their turn to eat - expecting all to be gone - this while the women fussed around in the kitchen and served when necessary. Of course there was food to spare. Yes, this was the mid-west American in the 1930s. Similar to the spirit to a Brueghel painting. Priscilla   

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