Past rule breaking caught up with me around the table when siblings gathered to play cards. Six-handed euchre demands concentration and skill, which is sadly lacking in my case. My failures cost the team a game or two and deserved the mild lecture that followed.
Euchre, by the way, was created by the French in Louisiana in the 19th century and quickly became popular across the country.
A short break to eat chicken and dessert led to remember-when conversations.
“You remember when Ma would buy you expensive shoes and you’d wreck them in two weeks by wearing them in the cow yard?’’ brother Vern asked.
Guilty as charged.
“I was surprised when he wore matching shoes, when his shoelaces were tied and when the shoes were on the right feet,’’ sister Jean said.
The cows did not care if shoes matched or the one worn on the right was meant for the left. I will admit that using baling twine for a belt may have seemed silly to a feed salesman or to the veterinarian but served its purpose well.
I took it a step or two too far when I borrowed an older brother's lined gloves to toss silage down the chute when the weather dipped to zero. My cheap cloth gloves soaked in milk-machine wash water froze solid in the cold.
“Most times his gloves weren’t a matching pair,’’ added another brother.
I was indeed a scavenger and mined gloves from the bike basket mother kept not far from the wood-burning furnace pipe. For some reason, right-handed gloves seemed to wear out faster than left-handed ones, so it was understandable why my gloves were for the same hand.
The worst trouble I ever got in — at least concerning clothing — involved my brother’s cardboard box full of Jacques hats that he received for selling seed for the company. A family-owned firm, Prescott, Wis.-based Jacques has a trailblazing history.
It introduced its first hybrid seed corn in 1931 and followed up by being the first to offer chemically treated seed in 1935. Its innovation made it one of the leading seed-sellers in the country, but lost its status following World War II.
However, Jacques struck marketing gold in 1976, which was the nation’s 200th birthday. It produced a red cap with “Jacques Seeds Spirit of ’76’’ in white with blue border on its front.
Patriotic, popular and within easy reach within the cardboard box my brother kept in his closet. Cap-wearers who milk cows bend bills in unnatural ways. In any case a Jacques cap does not go unnoticed. My brother reacted with rare fury. He did not in any way understand that he had an entire box full of caps and I only wanted one.
“They are meant for people who buy seed,’’ my brother said after forcefully removing the cap from my head.
I sure wish he would have let me keep the hat.
To that end, I searched online to see if there were any for sale. I found Funk’s Hybrid G hats, Pioneer hats, Beck’s Hybrid caps, Moews caps, Garst and many more. Nary a Jacques ’76 was found.
The Funks cap on the site was offered for $35.16 with free shipping. That seems expensive, but I would pay it for a Jacques. It is possible my brother still has some of those hats. If he does, I am sure he would sell them all for $35 apiece. Then again, he might not. It may well be that he has not forgotten my past indiscretion.
Stealing the cap was not nearly as bad as lifting long johns from dad’s dresser drawer during a long January cold snap. Dad took to wearing long johns in the fall and continued to wear them until dandelions began to bloom.
I did not think he would miss them.
Mychal Wilmes is the retired managing editor of Agri News. He lives in West Concord, Minn., with his wife, Kathy.