Classic Television programs of the 50’s and 60’s

I would bet that there are very few, if any, of us that can remember the late 1940’s when television stations began to send out signals to millions of Americans. During the 1950’s and 60’s a new era for entertainment began with the broadcast of some of these classic television programs, many of which are still viewed today thanks to re-runs, syndications and online. How many of these do you remember?

Addams Family
American Bandstand
Andy Griffith Show
Beverly Hillbillies
Dick Van Dyke Show
Gilligan’s island
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Highway Patrol
Howdy Doody Show
I Love Lucy
I Spy
Lone Ranger
Lost In Space
Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Mission Impossible
Mister Ed
My Friend Flicka
Perry Mason
Sky King
Star Trek
Twilight Zone
What’s My Line?
You Bet Your Life

Did any of these bring back childhood memories?

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Wayward Sheep

The year was 1978 and Langford, SD was looking for an agriculture instructor to start an agricultural education program in their school system. The Pickle Queen’s two older brothers had an empty farmstead 14 miles out-of-town where we could move onto. It was just a few miles from their places and they had added this land to their operation and didn’t want the buildings to set empty. So, we loaded up our belongings and moved from a new home in Fairmont, MN to an older farm-house in windswept SD.

We had neighbors about a half mile to our west. An empty farmstead sat half a mile to the east. Between us and the place to the west sat a slough that provided excellent duck hunting in the fall. A stock dam sat in our pasture between our building site and the empty place to the east. Deer liked to travel between the rushes of these two water sources via the grove of trees surrounding our place that gave us some wind protection on all sides except the south. But, I digress.

The Enstad’s, living on the place west of us, had a dairy operation with a small farm flock of sheep to give the kids some responsibility. They had no problem with the dairy cows getting out, but the ewe’s were another story. Anyone who has been around sheep know that there hasn’t been a fence built that sheep can’t find a way through. It seems that it was a weekly chore for the Enstad’s to round up the wayward sheep and return them to their pen.

It was a colder Saturday afternoon in mid-winter of 1980 when Brownie, our ‘farm dog’ started raising a ruckus. Knowing that coyotes were a common occurrence in the neighborhood, I grabbed my rifle and headed out the door. As I rounded the trees to out east, I seen the Enstad’s with their flock of sheep on the other side of our frozen stockdam. Evidently, the coyotes had scattered the flock and they were in the process of trying to get them back home. I walked over to them and said, “Hey neighbor, what are you up to?” as if I didn’t already know. I had seen them trying to chase the sheep  across the frozen ice, with no luck. I had seen them try to push the frightened ewe’s across the ice, also with no luck. As they were grabbing the sheep to try pulling them across I said, “You can’t take your sheep home that way.”

He replied, “I was just taking a shortcut across your frozen pond. What’s wrong with that?”

“Nobody pulls the wool over my ice!” I answered.

Think about it, he had to.

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Not The Brightest Cowboy

Back in South Dakota you have the real cowboys and the wanna be cowboys. It’s difficult to tell them apart as most guys and gals own and wear at least one pair of boots, blue jeans and a hat. I’d say there are probably more in the ‘wanna be’ category than the ‘real’ category. It’s hard to tell which one this cowboy belonged to.

A cowboy had two horses and had a hard time telling them apart. He cut one of the horse’s mane off, but it grew back; he cut off the tail, but it also grew back. A friend suggested that he measure the horses.

The cowboy measured them and went back to see his friend. “That was a great idea,” he told his friend, “The black one is 1 hand (4 inches for the wanna be’s) taller than the white one.”

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What Makes Meat Tough?

I’m sure you have had a steak or other cut of meat that has just melted in your mouth. Likewise, you probably have had a like cut of meat that chewed like old shoe leather.You may not have asked out loud why the meat was so tender or so tough but somewhere in the back of your mind your inner voice was wondering what was going on. Let me shed a little light on this subject.

If you have processed a domestic animal, a deer or other large game, or if you’ve closely examined a cut of meat you will recognize what I’m writing about. The major muscle(s) tissue are surrounded by a mucous membrane (connective tissue or silver skin) which holds these various parts together. This makes it possible for you to separate the various muscles and keep them looking somewhat professionally ‘butchered’. These connective tissues are tied together by white strands (tendons) that connects the muscles to the bones. The more connective tissue and tendons the meat has, the tougher it is going to be. Another way to look at it is, the less connective tissue and tendons, the more tender the meat will be.

If the meat contains a lot of connective tissue, cook it for a long time to get the tissue to become gelatin. This will make the potentially tough meat soft and very tender. I can still remember eating a pot roast that Grandma had in the oven for hours. The seam fat and connective tissue melted in your mouth. The ole taste buds didn’t know whether to tell you to spit it out when you first encountered the softness or to savor the taste. Braised beef will give you the same experience.

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Getting Lost While Hunting

Getting lost while hunting could be a big problem. I have never been ‘LOST’ while hunting but the rest of the world has been seriously misplaced a couple of times.

While living and teaching in Iowa, Frenchy and I spent a lot of time afield. Getting lost wasn’t a problem at all. Iowa’s land was surveyed using the ‘Rectangular Land Survey’ method which set parcels of land into one square mile sections. Most of these ‘sections’ had mile roads on all four sides so all one had to do was to walk a mile or two in a straight line and you’d come out on a road. Besides that, there weren’t many hills in central Iowa where I taught and dogs had a hard time finding a tree to lift its leg next to.

While teaching at three different locations in Minnesota, getting lost didn’t pose a problem either. Again the land was surveyed using the Rectangular Method, but roads didn’t always run every mile. Minnesota had two things that would throw some hunters for a loop. Besides all the trees, especially in the northern part of the state, it has 10,000 plus lakes one must circumvent. You had to work to get lost.

Teaching at both Langford and Watertown in South Dakota, getting lost wasn’t a problem either. We lived 14 miles from Langford and during the fall and winter I ran a trap line to and from school. My travel routes were across sections, down dirt roads, around sloughs, etc. I only had to use a road the last mile into town. The Pickle Queen would ask which route I took to come home, and I had a hard time remembering as it all depended on how many sets I had to remake as to which routes I would take. Hunting around Watertown wasn’t bad either.  Again, using the same survey system as Iowa and Minnesota had, roads were almost every mile except for around he lakes that dotted the landscape.

Moving out here to Virginia has proven to be quite different. As I had said when I started Life On The Massanutten, we live at the end of a 14 mile road. I use the word ‘road’ rather loosely. It’s one way in and the same one way back out. There are a few side roads about a mile or two  long but they all end without going anyplace. We’ve tried a few out and were lucky to get back to the main road as finding a place to turn around are far and few between. There are thousands upon thousands of acres full of ravines, hollers, hills, dales, creeks, etc. Getting lost out here would be no problem at all.

We’ll have been out here 6 years come the middle of November. When Catfish found out that I was an avid hunter and trapper he felt obligated to tell me about an episode he had experienced. He had been hunting these woods for many years and felt that he could go anywhere on the Massanutten and find his way back home without blinking an eye. He was hunting deer so was in full hunting  regalia carrying his favorite hunting rifle. Suddenly he dropped the rifle he had been dragging, stumbled forward and through his arms around a man who had emerged from a patch of timber. and cried, “I’ve been lost for two days, and am I glad to see you!”

“What are you so glad about?” mumbled the man. “I’ve been lost for a week!”

Message taken. I’m careful where I trod.

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A Lesson On Being Prepared

If you have been following Life On The Massanutten for any amount of time you know that the Pickle Queen was a christian preschool teacher for many, many years. She always told the parents at the beginning of each year, “If you believe only a small part of what your child tells you happened at preschool, I’ll believe only a small part of what your child tells me happened at home.” In other words, children are still developing their communication skills. Here’s an episode she told me about:

The lesson topic for the week was on ‘being prepared.’ As there were many squirrels in town, she decided to use the squirrel as an object for being prepared. She told the class, “I’m going to describe something, and I want you to raise your hand when you know what it is.”

The children sat on the floor in a semi-circle around her and waited eagerly.

“This thing lives in trees (she paused) and eats nuts (she paused again).”

She said no hands went up so she continued, “It’s gray (she paused once again) and has a long bushy tail (she paused yet again).”

She told me that the children looked at each other, but nobody raised a hand.

“And it jumps from branch to branch (she paused again thinking surely someone would guess a squirrel) and chatters and flips its tail when it’s excited (pausing, still no hands in the air).”

Finally, one little boy tentatively raised his hand. “Well,” he said, “I know it must be Jesus… but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me!”

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Never Forget Your Friends!

I received this from a good friend and want to share it with the rest of my readers. You may want to share this with your friends (even those you seldom see) who help make sense of your life.

A newlywed young man was sitting on the porch on a hot, humid day, sipping iced tea with his father. As he talked about adult life, marriage, responsibilities and obligations, the father thoughtfully stirred the ice cubes in his glass and cast a clear, sober look on his son.

“Never forget your friends,” he advised, “they will become more important as you get older.” “Regardless of how much you love your family and the children you happen to have, you will always need friends. Remember to go out with them occasionally, do activities with them, call them,” he continued.

“What strange advise!” thought the young man. “I just entered the married world, I am an adult and surely my wife and the family that we will start will be everything I need to make sense of my life.” Yet he obeyed his father. He kept in touch with his friends and annually increased their number. Over the years, he became aware that his father knew what he was talking about. In as much as time and nature carry out their designs and mysteries on a man, friends were the bulwarks of his life.

After 60 years of life, here is what he learned:

Time passes.
Life goes on.
Distance separates.
Children grow up and become independent; it breaks the parent’s heart, but the children become separated from their parents.
Jobs come and go.
Illusions, desires, attraction, sex … weaken.
People do not do what they should do.
The heart breaks.
The parents die.
Colleagues forget the favors.
The races are over.
But true friends are always there, no matter how many miles away they are or for how long.
A friend is never more distant that the reach of a need, intervening in your favor, waiting for you with open arms or blessing your life.
When we started this adventure called LIFE, we did not know of the incredible joys or sorrows that were ahead. We did not know how much we would need from each other.

Love your parents, take care of your children, and keep a group of good friends too.

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