Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 5

RM

| PERSPECTIVES

H A RT TO H E A RT

Come home to the fair
by Barry Hart | bhart@amec.coop

I

t's hard to get excited about August. The heat
and humidity are up, family vacations are
behind us and weeds have taken over the garden. If it wasn't for the Missouri State Fair, most
of us would be pulling for the return of winter - or
at least a little crisp fall weather.
Missouri's State Fair, set for Aug. 9-19 in Sedalia, always has been a fitting end to summer. Timed
for the brief period when crops are on their own and
farmers can catch their breath, the fair's purpose
has always been to shine the spotlight on agriculture. And that's fitting, given that agriculture is
Missouri's No. 1 industry.
It's a prime time to educate the public on where
their food comes from and give them an opportunity to meet the people who grow it. For example,
4-H and FFA youth will be on hand to demonstrate
how they care for their livestock during "Let's talk
livestock." Scattered around the fairgrounds will be
10 free agriculture-themed trading cards. See if you
can collect the set.
One of my first stops on the fairgrounds is the
Agriculture Building where you can see blue-ribbon
winning meats and the giant pumpkins and watermelons. I always like to stop at the Missouri State
Beekeepers Association display, which includes a
working beehive and some tasty honey ice cream.
You can get a sense of what it takes to farm
these days by browsing through the display of farm
equipment near the midway. Tractors sure are getting bigger.
Whether it is the giant pumpkins and watermelons or livestock such as sheep, mules, draft
horses and various breeds of cattle, you can rest
assured these are the best from around the state. I
am amazed at how the animals are pampered, often

by youth barely tall
enough to look them in
the eye.
Many people come
to the State Fair for
the food, and I am no
exception. While I enjoy
the scent of the treats
that make fair season
so unforgettable, I usually head in the direction of the restaurants
hosted by Missouri's
Cattlemen and Pork
Producers. There is
nothing like a rib-eye
sandwich or pork burger cooked to perfection
with pride by the same
people who produced it.
I don't mind standing in line when I can learn
more facts about Missouri agriculture and meet
farmers from all over the state.
A new promotion at the fair will help feed the
hungry. Missouri Farmers Care's $2 Tuesday lets
fairgoers who donate two or more cans of food enter
the fairgrounds for just $2 on Aug. 14. The event
coincides with FFA Food Insecurity Service Day,
which will bring 650 FFA members to the fair with a
goal of packing 100,000 kid-friendly meals for Missouri's six food banks.
On Aug. 16, Gov. Mike Parson will preside over
his first Governor's Ham Breakfast. That day brings
a number of Missouri's legislative leaders to the
Missouri's Electric Cooperatives Building. Sen. Roy
Blunt is a regular there, and I am sure we will see
newly appointed Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe as well.
I hope you will put the Missouri's Electric Coop-

eratives Building on your "can't miss" list. Besides
being the coolest place at the fair, the building is
full of exhibits designed to help you save on your
electric bill. If you are one of the first 1,500 people
who stop by on Electric Co-op Day, Aug. 17, you will
leave with a free LED light bulb.
Also on hand will be the Rural Missouri staff,
some "People from our Pages" and Rural Missouri
mascot Buddy Bear who will pose for pictures with
you and your family.
There's not another place I would rather be in
August than the Missouri State Fair. Here's hoping
our paths cross as Missouri's Department of Agriculture invites us all to "Come Home" to the 2018
Missouri State Fair.
Hart is executive vice president of the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

GUEST COLUMN

From lanterns to electric lights
by Ron Alexander | info@ruralmissouri.coop

A

s I look back through my more than 80
years, I have experienced many, many very
good changes and a good many of them
would not be possible without electricity.
A lot of those good things I have experienced have
been because electricity "came down to the farm."
With all I have seen and experienced I may be
inclined to be like the man nearing his end of days
who said, "I have seen the railroad come, the car
become common and airplanes fly. So I have seen
it all."
On the other hand, with all the changes I have
seen in my short life span I am inclined to say, "We
ain't seen nothing yet."
On a page of the January issue there is an article
titled "Volunteers brighten Bolivia." Well, during my
time REA has certainly brightened rural Missouri.
My first 10 years were spent in rural south Missouri. The light was a kerosene lamp on the kitchen
wall and another in the living room on the table.
To make us feel well off we were told: "Well, Abe
Lincoln done his studying and reading just from the
light of the fireplace."
The radio was powered by a small dry cell battery. The one-room school we attended only had
one night function a year, the annual pie supper. At

deep freeze arrived - big difference
that event a lantern was hung above
that made, too. Before the deep freeze
the blackboard.
came a slaughtered mutton or beef
In the year 1945 the family moved
was hung safely in a building as long
to Boone County. World War II was
as the weather was cold enough. But
coming to a close and some efforts
when the weather warmed up it would
were beginning to be made in other
be brought in and canned in the presdirections. The old farmhouse had just
sure cooker.
been wired and electricity just been
Soon the barn and other buildturned on. Every room had a light
ings were wired and the pole light was
bulb in the center with a few outlets
added. Of course the new radio just
scattered about. Of course we had no
plugged into the wall.
appliances. We couldn't even use the
One other big thing came about. It
minimum number of kilowatt-hours.
Ron Alexander
had been my older sister's job to bring
But things began to change. My dad
the kitchen water up from a deep well
and I attended the Boone County REA
annual meeting and his name was drawn for the near the barn lot. Wind supplied power to the windfirst prize - an electric motor. My mother had a mill and usually did a good job but sometimes not
wringer washing machine powered by a small gaso- in the evening. After school the wind became too
line motor. After years of use sometimes it would slow to power the windmill.
When this happened the windmill had to be disstart and sometimes it wouldn't. I think she finally
connected and the water pumped by hand. With the
gave up altogether.
Well, the new little electric motor changed her building of a new house came a new well with the
wash day! After it wore the washer out it was used electric pump supplying the water pressure to the
electric water heater for a warm shower at the end
many years on the Clipper seed cleaner.
I think the next major appliance was a refrigera- of the day on an open tractor in a dusty field.
tor. Did that make a change!
Alexander is a member of Central Missouri ElecIce in the summertime, ice cream anytime and
the milk was always cold. In a short time, the tric Cooperative who lives near Marshall.
AUGUST 2018 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

5


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2018

Contents
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Intro
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Contents
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 4
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 5
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 6
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 7
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - 8
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Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - August 2018 - Cover4
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