"My father believed all children had work potential, no matter how young they were. Play was okay for town kids..."

Twin boys, Lincoln and Lawn (based on family name) Griffiths, grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa. Their father assigned his children farm chores as soon as they could carry a pail of feed or a basket for collecting eggs. Nowadays government safety officials would have something to say about four-year-olds riding a board between the tractor and slowly lumbering cultivator. As weeds were dug under and clods of dirt tossed up, the boys unburied tiny corn plants. Of course, that was back in the 1950s. Eventually, Lawn Griffiths earned a college degree in journalism and was hired by a Waterloo newspaper as the farm editor. This book contains seventy-two short stories written in James Herriot-style about Midwestern farm life during that era. First published as a newspaper column, his "Rural at Random" reminiscences ran for over eight years.

The book’s title and cover recount a story about Lawn hitting a home run every time with a flat stick that sailed rocks mightily over the barn roof. Within the 136-page book are memories, such as his mother’s drinking cup made from a large can and the grease guns that created a mess when blocked zerk fittings spat goo everywhere. Some stories are grouped by season, such as baling summer hay versus straw or breaking up winter ice in watering troughs. Others are about cows; milking adventures, gates, and wire fencing. Some refer to people: his twin brother who flew neighbors over their fields to pay for flying time, the work ethics of hundreds of hired hands employed a day or years on the farm, and the town blacksmith whose priority was getting his neighbors’ equipment up and running.

Baby boomers and farm kids will enjoy every word. Literary folk will marvel at the poetical style, complete with alliteration, which entertained a generation of newspaper readers.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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