Under the Wire

Grandpa had the right idea


It is completely impossible to write a humorous column addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Humor aside for a bit, there are some surprising developments to all this.

A big surprise to many of us is the hoarding issue. Folks rushing to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials of life. Gone from the shelves are canned goods, flour and the hardest to come by of all, toilet paper. Granted, nobody wants to run out of it. However, this is when I see a big upside for Agriculture.

As a small boy, I can still remember grandpa’s outdoor plumbing a.k.a. the outhouse. As they were, his probably was one of the best, a two holer. Personally, I never had an urge to share the experience with anyone else. One was enough for me. Nowhere in my memory is there a presence of T.P. Instead grandpa’s “outdoor throne” included room for a shelf holding a Montgomery Ward catalog, many pages missing and a bushel basket full of corn cobs. I quickly figured out why the pages were missing, but never stooped, literally, to the use of a corn cob. I secretly thought grandpa had set it there, either as a statement of his toughness or to see if anyone would be stupid enough to use one. There were enough jokes and talk about them that I suspect most were more adventuresome than me. Now to the Ag angle of this story. Corn farmers have struggled with bad weather, poor yields and even poorer prices the past couple of years. Suddenly, it hit me. Even a poor crop has to yield thousands of corn cobs. They could be farmer’s “diamonds in the rough,” emphasis on the “rough” part.

Why not park a pickup load of the Charmin substitutes in front of the grocery store and wait for shoppers desperate because they couldn’t buy toilet paper, then approach them with a plastic bag full of “DeKalb Substitutes.” All it would take was a sign proclaiming, “Join your pioneers with a Pioneer.” DeKalb and Pioneer, for non-farmers are well known corn cob producing companies. I can see prosperity flooding over the nation’s corn fields “one wipe at a time.”

By the way, there could be a resurgence of Montgomery Ward stores long ago closed, as the demand for their catalogs soar.

Yep, it was right there before our eyes and we didn’t see it. Well, maybe eyes is not an accurate location description but you get the idea.

I know this sounds kind of “corny,” but grandpa had the right idea the whole time.


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