Updated on Wednesday*:
The war years were hard on the little farm community of
Key. Ration stamps didn’t go nearly far enough. When “Victory Gardens”
were encouraged, the community joined in with 20 million other American
They planted everything they could get in the way of
seeds and cuttings. No frills, just potatoes, corn, tomatoes, beans,
peas and cabbage. Gardening became a major part of the areas summer
When the war was over, the huge gardens dwindled to pre-war size. During
the years of 1946-50, some families hardly gardened at all. Most were
tired of all the extra work. Things would change again due to the winter
Eastern Ohio was buried under one of the biggest snow
storms of the century. One of the few bright spots was a couple of seed
catalogs, Henry Fields and Burpee. These were successful in challenging
the hearts of most snowbound farmers, especially the ones down on Pipe
The telephone line that ran that particular hollow was
hot for weeks. There were 10 families on the line. Cabin fever had
apparently gotten the best of all of the men. They discussed the new and
unusual vegetables from daylight until dark and beyond.
The vegetable discussions started between two brothers.
As luck would have it, two neighbors just happened to pick up and listen
in on the brothers. Slowly, and without planning, a peaceful discussion
turned into an all out feud.
Each of the farmers was sure he knew the best new
products to try. Each had his own ideas about planting. Each knew which
crops would be best. They cussed and discussed for three weeks. Finally,
the snow stopped and the battle for the best garden started.
Though phone conversations were over, the farmers were
in action. Each was determined to have the biggest and greatest garden.
A couple of the men tried to call the seed companies to order the seed
packets C.O.D. They were ahead of their time--no phone number was
available, let alone a way to order.
The poor mailman was pulled into the feuding. He had a
fulltime job just trying to keep up with all of the boxes of seed
packets going to Pipe Creek. He told the operator that the families
would have to plant 30 acres to get all those seeds in the ground. He
questioned their sensibilities. What had happened to common sense, and
just what would one man do with 300 lbs. of chili peppers?
Thankfully, the women folk of Pipe Creek became aware
of the cultivating conflict. Once the deliveries were made and the
gardening started, the females put an end to the planting of 50 packets
of chili peppers and 30 packets of okra.
It had been a bitter cold winter. Most of the women
agreed that it was hard to endure such freezing temperatures, but all
stated firmly that hell itself would have to freeze before they would
can 500 lbs. of okra.
There are many truths about men and women and the
confusing interactions that can occur. Time, trouble, and wars may blur
the lines of reason and rational thinking. Yet, when the snow has
melted, the ground has been plowed, and the dust has settled, a man
knows that he cannot fight any battle if his beloved does not stand
beside him. The feud ended. Those old farmers were wiser than many men
today. They knew that “A happy wife is a happy life.”
This Week's Editorial:By Helen Morris:
Calhoun County Map