This week's Sepia Saturday theme has to do with two men in hats standing outside the entrance of a coffee shop. I have shown this photo of my Great-Grandparents, Talitha Letsom Hedrick and her husband Benjamin Hedrick, before. They are celebrating a special anniversary, probably their 50th. There are plenty of coffee cups there, so there must have been some coffee about to be served.
The story below maybe off theme, but it has been a long time since we have all visited one of our favorite little places, Tin Pot Valley.
So, please grab yourself a cup of your choice (coffee or tea), and settle down to a cute story, written by my distant cousin, Wilfred Brown, grandson to my Great-Great Uncle Horace and Aunt Aurilla Putnam of Oregon.
Tin Pot Valley, Chapter XXVIII:
"Only Half Full"
Horace Putnam moved slower in the years that followed -- and as his strength ran down, so did the productiveness of the the Putnam Ranch.
Hired men driving the tractor did not plow as well as Chester had, or operate as well as the implements for the tilling of the soil. The prized dairy cows, descendants of the Chief and his successors, did not give down milk in the volume they had, and the cream checks that long had been the mainstay of ranch income likewise dwindled.
But Horace Putnam did not worry much. As he had for years past, he spent much of his time at projects that did not contribute greatly to the ranch economy, while brush grew thicker in the fence-rows, and encroached on fields and pastures, and fences fell into a state of disrepair.
He visited happily with those who stopped by -- relatives and old family friends and their descendants -- talking mainly about days and people long-gone. The visitors usually had time to stay for dinner.
|Source: The Iowa Agriculturist "Sulky Corn Cultivator"|
Horace Putnam spent many hours at a far corner of his ranch digging on a ditch -- a small canal -- that was aimed at draining a small swamp into Elk Creek. It wasn't clear to me how beneficial that would be, for removing the massive growth of trees, brush, berry vine and other vegetation to make the swamp land cultivatable would be an even more horrendous task. But Grandpa kept digging away, from time to time when the mood struck him, even though he never did get his ditch done.
He pointed out to me the spectacular possibilities of another canal that wouldn't have to be so much larger. He noted that the divide between the Willamette and Umpqua River watersheds, at a community called Divide, south of Cottage Grove, is hardly perceptible. Then the water headed for the Umpqua descends rapidly to the much lower altitudes of Drain and Elkton. Not much of a ditch to connect the two river systems, said Grandpa, and you'd have the majestic Willamette River and most of its tributaries flowing south instead of north, down Pass Creek Canyon and into Elk Creek at Drain.
Off-hand, I could see no reason why anyone might want that -- but it was quite an idea, and having seen some of the other things done in rearranging the natural landscape, I wouldn't be surprised to see a small matter like reversing the flow of the Willamette River some day take place.
Mary Cunningham and Margaret Brown, both too young for automotive drivers' licenses, got Grandpa's permission to drive the Model-T around the ranch for practice, and thought up all sorts of errands to attend to without going onto the county road.
They asked Grandpa if they could paint the Ford. He thought it was a good idea. Rust was showing in a few places, and he said he'd get some black paint next time he went to Drain.
But that wasn't what the girls had in mind. With some white paint they found in a half-filled can in the woodshed, one afternoon when Grandpa was away at his ditch, they touched up the car after the fashion of teen-agers of those days. On the right side of the car they painted the warning: "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here!" . . . On the radiator grill: "Here Comes Trouble!" . . . Across the hood, a variate of the introduction of a current canine movie star: "Tin, tin, tin, the wonder car!" And there were a number more.
Horace Cunningham happened by, and added a contribution by painting across the back of the Model-T a perhaps timely warning: "HELL IS ONLY HALF FULL!"
Horace Putnam said nothing, when he saw the decorated car, but they knew from the crinkles around his eyes that he was mightily amused by the creative efforts of his grandchidlren.
The next morning, when Grandma and Lou came out, to drive into Drain for Sunday School and church with the younger children, Grandma was really shocked -- particularly by the warning on the rear.
|Perhaps Uncle John Hedrick and Grandma Florence joined them on the trip in to town for Sunday School at times.|
The last time I saw the old Model-T, when it had long since ceased to run and was half-hidden in a thicket of blackberry vines, a fading inscription still showed above the rust -- a blot of white paint, then the words: **** IS ONLY HALF FULL!"
Here are some other chapters previously posted from Tin Pot Valley:
- Chapet IX - "To Ride An Elephant"
- Chapter X - "Where the Dandelions Grew"
- Chapter XIX ~ Horace and Aurilla Putnam: "Affair at the Dynamite House"
- Chapter XXI: Benton Mires and "The Great Train Holdup"
- Chapter XXII - "The Hazard of Tea"
- Chapter XXIV: "Mr. Godiva and The Ladies of Yoncalla"
- Chapter XXV: "Strip Tease at the Sawmill"
So, there you are, my friends. If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories. To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy. Thanks so much for visiting!
|Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews|
|At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot! All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today. |