Vol.2..Norwegian Farmer’s Son..June 18th

June 18th………“HAS ANYONE IN YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY EVER WROTE ABOUT THEIR CHILDHOOD FARMING EXPERIENCES”?

Note: Today’s story actually was written by my mother’s brother (Marcus Delmaine “Del” Sletten who lived from May 14th, 1924 – July 13th, 1994). He tells about a farm incident that transpired when he was a very little boy. I think you’ll enjoy his cute rendition about what happened with some bananas in the story he called, “The Great Banana Flip”. ;o)

The setting for our story takes us back to the year 1926 when life was less complicated and more carefree. I must do some explaining to be able to portray the timeframe in which our story unfolds. Picture my father, a young dairyman, whose farm was located more than two miles from the local co-op creamery (in the town of Scarville, Iowa). It was necessary, in those days, for fellow farmers to be a part of a cream hauling route of four other dairymen that took turns collecting cans of cream and delivering them to the local co-op and returning the empty cans to each respective farm place.

Typical carrying case for many dozens of eggs going to a local market.

The day Father hauled cream, he also generally took to market a thirty dozen case of eggs. Once the case of eggs was emptied, the interlinked “cardstock” fillers were collapsed and the layers of those fillers were all placed in one side compartment of the egg case. The other compartment (of that now empty egg case) was reserved for groceries that the farmer had bought in exchange for the eggs; no such thing as grocery bags in those days.

Older siblings, Clarice (L) and Bobby (R) had to attend school while little “Del” remained at home that day.

Mother had been up very early gathering eggs and washing them to get enough to fill the case so Dad could take them with him, as this was to be his day to drive the cream route.

After those morning egg gathering chores, Mother then had to get Clarice and Bobby ready so they would be out at the gate when the horse-drawn school bus arrived. Poor Bobby didn’t often make the bus on time because of the usual stomach ache that plagued him at the very thought of going to school. Surely, I thought, my older brother would get to stay home with me today. But, Mother assured him that, with a little trip to the outhouse, he could easily catch the bus on its return trip from the farm places just a mile south of our farm. There he was, bursting out of the outhouse on a hustle, hitching up his last suspender and running, lunch pail in hand, through the apple orchard, across the little pasture and over fences just in time to catch that old horse-drawn school bus that was now on its way to the school in Scarville.

Separating the heavier cream from the milk with a hand-crank machine.

In the meantime, Father had milked around 20 cows by hand and was just completing the job of cream separating, after which, Mother would wash the disks and bowel, tank, cans, spouts, strainer, milk pails, etc..

Now for a quick breakfast and off on the cream route for Dad. The rear seat cushion was removed in the old Chevy to accommodate all the cream cans and the egg case that sat right beside him as he drove off to pick up the many cream cans along the route of those fellow dairymen’s farms. Arriving at the creamery facility in Scarville, he found that a line of other farmers had already formed. Taking it all in stride, this gave Dad an opportunity to visit with the other farmer patrons who were also waiting to dump their cream cans into the creamery’s receptacles.

Lovely Amanda Rogness Sletten, the mother of little “Del” who tells this story.

This left Mother and I at home and since she had already worked so hard, she was exhausted and decided to go upstairs to rest; falling fast asleep. Not me, though, I wished that I could have found a spot somewhere with Dad in our Chevrolet among the eggs and all the cans of cream.

When Daddy returned from town, he dropped off our cream cans and brought in the egg case with the groceries and placed it on the floor in our family’s kitchen. There he found me entertaining myself, playing horsey with our family’s broom stick. Dad gave me a hug and made me promise to stay out of mischief while he delivered the empty cream cans back to our other farm neighbors on the route.

Daddy had scarcely left the house when I decided to explore the egg case that sat there on the floor with all those inviting groceries. Being a tiny guy, I crawled up into the empty side of the egg case compartment where the layers of fillers had been tucked away. Leaning over into the half of the egg case that was filled with groceries, I discovered a nice bunch of yellow bananas. I snugged myself down into “my” half of the egg case with the whole bunch of yellow delights in my lap.

Stripping bananas open and flipping the peels on the floor about me, I was having a riot of a tasty good time!!! Not only that, those yellow, oblong orbs were good eating, too!! First one banana, then two and then I had gotten a good start on a third one when suddenly, I became very sleepy.

There went Daddy Clarence doing the “Great Banana Flip” dance!!! 😉

My little boy strategy was excellent as I had made my fortress secure by flipping the banana peels on the floor around me, forming a kind of “banana moat”. There I sat, king of my domain, banana in hand and sound asleep……that is, until I was awakened by two thundering, adult Norwegian male feet clapping the floor in slippery “dancing”!!! For, you see, Daddy had arrived back home and as he walked into the family kitchen, he had made the GREAT BANANA FLIP dance a new sensation!!!! 😉

Marcus Delmaine “Del” Sletten who is the author of today’s story. Circa early 1940’s when he was a young adult.

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