Louie has a way of making extraordinary events seem ordinary. This letter has two extraordinary (to me) stories.
First is the story about the neighbors who had milk cows. It’s not clear to me exactly how they accomplished that, because they lived in town. On town sized lots. There were no barns and no pasture. These days some people get excited if there’s a chicken next door. Cows? Probably won’t happen here.
The second is the picture Louie enclosed with this letter. He was a little self-conscious about sharing that picture, but he was proud of it at the same time. He was in the prime of life, playing football for Jamestown College.
Louie’s photo album does have a later re-creation of this picture, taken in the early fifties when he was serving in Korea. You’ll see that one later.
Nick-names, that seems to be something that will go on forever.
My first nick name was “Snuffy.” I got that in an unusual way, learning to milk cows by hand. The Dengates, our next door neighbors had some milk cows and of course you had to milk them twice a day. If you didn’t the cows would bellow loudly to let you know it was time to milk.
The older Dengate boys were teaching me how you milk – grab, squeeze and pull. You also had to aim to hit the bucket between your knees.
It was hard work and you had to milk the cow dry. She would most likely have a galon or so at each milking. You usually ended up with a blister between your thumb and first finger until you got a callous worked up there.
When we were milking the Dengate boys chewed tobacco, they called it Snuff. They told me to be a real milker I had to chew snuff. I did try it and after gagging for a week or so trying it, the neighbor kids found out about it and started calling me “Snuffy”
My dad found out about this and did much lecturing (in those good old days it was called chewing butt) telling them never to call me that again. They had to find another name for me besides Donald so they hung “Louie” on me.
In high school some of the guys called me “Hanging Meat”, the enclosed picture might give you a hint why. Had to get rid of that one also. Kind of hard to tell some nice chick what that name meant, especially in the good old days.