North Central Kansas
Edward W. Merz
An Embarrassing Mealtime Incident
[My brother Sam] and Dad worked together, harvesting wheat with a header. The header required 6 horses to pull it, plus two teams with the two header bargers. . . . Our string of horses must have resembled a caravan of some safari in Africa. . . . At the noon hour the horses were unhitched on a grassy ravine. . . . After they were fed hay and grain, we spread old horse blankets on the grass under the header barges parked side by side to provide us with shade. At this time, sisters Susie and Clara had arrived with horse and buggy with a big dinner of potatoes, gravy, beef or fried chicken, slaw, cooked green beans or fresh peas from the garden. All the food was still warm, as was the coffee. At times, they brought lemonade.
This was the best part of the day--a time to eat and relax after being both tired and hungry. Some sat on the ground, some squatted, and some half reclined. Dad always said a prayer before and after the meal, while everyone bowed their head. We were usually too busy eating to talk, so we ate in silence. While eating, we could hear the horses chewing their hay, since they were but a short distance from us. Sometimes the girls would have to chase flies from the dishes of food.
So, it came to pass on one of those peaceful noon hours, when all was painfully quiet. . . . there came a terrific loud blast of escaping gas from one of our best mares, Mollie. It wasn't a short one, rather . . . it started on a low pitch, increased to a higher and louder pitch, and then descended in a decrescendo. We looked at each other dumbfounded, not knowing what we should do or say. Phillip was the first to burst into a laugh after being unable to suppress the laughter. Of course, that touched off the rest of us and we all joined in a hearty chorus of laughter. But our two modest sisters, Susie and Clara, were too frightfully embarrassed to laugh, but they couldn't hide their blushes. This event was certainly one of my sisters' most embarrassing moments of their life.
Edward Merz also submitted Frightened by a Steam Engine Whistle.