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CHORES

Story ID:9393
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Corona CA USA
Year:1940
Person:Chelsea Kansas Kid
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The Word "CHORES" comes to mind ???????

8-1-98

Yes I know that we all were kids at one time and we were expected to do our "CHORES," and we always did. Sometimes they were easy to perform and sometimes they were hard to do.

In the summertime, you would bring in the kindling wood for the cook stove but no need for pieces of wood for the heating stove in the living room. This was easy because the days were longer and you could wait until the last minute and still get them done by dark. In the wintertime, the sun was hard to find and the days were so short that it seemed as if you were always at the woodpile getting the wood. The need for the bigger pieces for the heater in the living room, was an added CHORE.

"CHORES," was a word that was used to intimidate you. If the word "CHORES" was used you felt like you were doing something great. This word was used instead of "GET IT" or "FETCH", or if you do not there will be heck to pay for you.
"CHORES" was used instead of Your Duty, or Your Job, or you'd better or suffer the consequences.

One of my duties was to gather the eggs. I always felt into the dark nests and was expecting to pull out a garter snake but never did. I forgot the egg basket one day and instead of walking the 15 feet to where it was, I used the pockets of my overalls to store them in. I filled the front pockets and then filled the rear pockets. When I bent over to get the last nest, I felt the front eggs break and the ones in the rear break. I knew that I had an omelet in each pocket, what a mess besides the spanking I got for not doing the CHORE right.

Then as I grew older my "CHORES" were to split the wood and to use the buzz saw. We used the crosscut saw to prepare the wood for the stove. My Dad was a real man, He would wear me out on the crosscut long before we were finished and then I had to bring in the wood for the house. I made a big mistake one time and asked my Dad if I could learn to milk the cows. He told me that He would teach me but that I would regret it for the rest of my life. He did and I did.
Now my "CHORES" were:
Bring in the wood cut the wood
Gather the eggs Milk the cows
As I grew older, I was introduced to the tractor and the gas tank on it and the radiator on it and the grease fittings
on it and how to crank it and not be killed. My Dad was a
stickler about machinery and if the tractor was a teaspoonful low
on oil he had me add to it. He could spot a non greased fitting from 500 yards and I always, no matter how hard I tried not to,
seemed to miss one or maybe two.
Then he showed me the combine and how it operated and how as another "CHORE" it was my duty to check the oil, the gas, the water, the fittings and for any excessive wear on any of the moving parts. Now my chores were:
Bring in the wood Cut the wood
Gather the eggs Milk the cows
Check everything on the tractor Check everything on the combine

I am now seven years old?
An old uncle moved in to the house with my family and brought two mules with him and the haying equipment that was needed to tend the hay. In the off time of the wheat harvest, it became my chore to feed the mules, the cows and the pigs in the morning and evening, and to work the mules. These mules were strong enough to pull a Navy battleship up a dirt road. When you started to curl the corn in the morning, the mare mule would relieve herself after about 20 feet into the row of corn. They would stop. When she finished and you started to work again the male mule would relieve himself. Another stop now after about another 100 feet the female would do a number two and we would stop again, then another l00 feet the Male mule would stop and here we go again.
Everyone thinks that mules are dumb but they truly are the smartest work animals there is. At exactly 12:00 noon they would start for the barn whether you wanted to or not. When the sun went down you couldn't keep them in a row of corn because it was quitting time for them. Now my "CHORES" were:
Bring in the wood Cut the wood
Gather the eggs Feed the cows Milk the cows
Feed the mules Curl the corn

When I started to high school I knew that I had it made, because it would take to much time to do all the CHORES because I had to drive 12 miles to high school.
My Dad fixed this he just got me up an hour earlier and that made it 4:00 A.M. rather than Five A.M. Seems like I can't win at all.
I thought I had it bad until my mother went into the hospital for about two weeks.

Now my chores were:
Cut the wood
Bring in the wood Gather the eggs Feed the cows Milk the cows
Strain the milk and run the separator Wash the separator (9000 pieces) Slop the hogs
Cook breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Wash the dishes
Get ready for school
and always made it on time.

In the wintertime, you had time to grind the oats, grind the corn for the feed for the mules and cows and the hogs. I am now sixteen.
My dad got the bright idea to go to Missouri and buy a sawmill. He did and now I had some other chores to do. I had to roll the logs onto the carriage, take the two by fours, and stack them. There were times that ten or twelve two by fours would come off at once and I had to hustle or get behind and be yelled at so I stayed up with the program. Along with the Sawmill, there was the job of cleaning the pit.

The pit would fill with sawdust and you had to use a bucket and shovel to clean it. The space was cramped but it needed cleaning about once a week and the sawdust would gather again and here we go again.
Now my "CHORES" were:
Cut the wood
Bring in the wood Gather the eggs Feed the cows Milk the cows Slop the hogs
Stack the lumber
Clean the pit, of sawdust.
Drive to school, never late (Mom's out of the hospital)

It seemed like as I grew older the number of "CHORES" were increasing. I wondered if I lived to be 100 how I could find time in the day to do all my "CHORES." Well that went by the wayside because at the tender age of 20 I left the farm and all my "CHORES."

When I left the farm my dad got a self propelled combine with air and stereo and all the goodies. He had an elevator put in so he didn't have to get into the pit. The mules were traded in for a row crop tractor. This goes to show you how important I was to Dad.

I thought that I worked hard but as I look back on it and all the "CHORES" it was good for me. I did learn about, not farming, but how to stretch my time and try to keep most everything in order. I had time to go duck hunting, squirrel hunting, trapping of muskrats for the pelts and lots of fishing, so don't feel sorry for me. Ice skating in the wintertime and all the swimming in the summer time I can look back and see how lucky I really was. I had no TV and an old radio that the battery was always down on, all I had was reading and crossword puzzles to pass my excess time. "CHORES”-- I LOVE YOU.

Written by Monte L. Manka, "CHORE BOY”.