Monday, 16 August 2010 14:44

25 Years Ago Late Summer/Early Autumn 1982

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From the general news sources of the day and the Autumn 1982 Draft Horse Journal.)

I believe this to be the only photograph from the state of Tennessee that has ever graced a cover of The Draft Horse Journal. The teamster in this case was Jerry Cunningham, an attorney in nearby Maryville, which is about 15 miles south of Knoxville. Jerry and his father (retired from the insurance business) owned about 70 acres near the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee. The farm was an avocation for both generations. At the time of this photo there were eleven head of registered Belgians on the farm along with a few saddle horses. The Belgians were used for mowing, hauling manure, some wagon train-type events and obviously, harrowing pastures.

What really tripped my trigger on that photograph was the flexible harrow. Here is what I said about it:

"Now a word about the harrow. Good pastures are the cornerstone of successful horse production. Strangely enough grass, the world's largest crop is more often than not simply taken for granted. This, in spite of the fact that pasture and grazing land account for 46.8% of the continental United States and that grass, browse or other forages produced thereon provide 36.3% of all U.S. livestock feed. Far less important crops receive far more attention. I think it almost impossible to dispute that most of our grazing areas could stand considerable improvement.

"Here is what Jerry Cunningham had to say about it: 'Sometime ago I had occasion to see an advertisement from the Fuerst company relative to their flexible harrow. I purchased an eight foot width and used it to scatter the manure and thatch my pastures and hay field. I was so impressed with the job that it did that I ordered another four foot section and have found that I can cover quite a bit of ground with it in a few hours time.'

"It looked like a good piece of equipment to me. Anything that has nothing to grease, oil or tighten, looks good to me. With no rigid bars or braces, it is built to follow the contour of ground and do its job, whether the job be to scatter the droppings evenly, thereby aiding in parasite control by exposing them to the sun, aerating the pasture for better moisture penetration, or to stir up the soil without tearing out established turf prior to overseeding or fertilization, or to cover the grass seed after renovation. The company manufactures two models with seven different sizes available in each–offering widths from 4-1/2 feet up to 24 feet.

"To give you some notion of about how much pasture you could get over in a given period of time at 3 miles per hour (a reasonable walking speed for horses at work) with their units, we present some per hour figures from a table included in their literature: 8'-2.4 acres; 10'-3 acres; 12'-3.6 acres; 16'-4.8 acres; 20'-6 acres and 24'-7.2 acres. Now that's fast enough folks, and 8' would be a cakewalk for a team or 16' for four."

Sometimes we editors are advised to put your money where your mouth is. That is exactly what we did–we bought a Fuerst Flexible Tine Harrow. It was excellent. The simple elegance of that piece of equipment is what appealed to me.

I was also encouraged by the fact that the president of the company was Myron M. Fuerst who bred some very good Angus cattle back in New York State and at one time was an active Percheron horse breeder. He was a stockman as well as a corporate head. In no time at all that cover photo from Autumn was appearing in the Fuerst Brothers Company ads in DHJ–(see a copy of their ad in this column from Summer 1983 DHJ.)"

As for the so-called world news from Autumn 1982, it reads pretty much just like most any other time–the Middle East, that bastian of certainty, self-righteousness and hatred, was right on schedule with a major invasion of Lebanon by Israel. Same old, same old; you can depend on it in that region.

More impressive to me than one more Middle East war was the caper that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon pulled off on July 16. On that date, this Korean head of the Unification Church had rented Madison Square Garden for the biggest doggoned wedding that ever took place. The bridegrooms were in blue suits and brides in white lace and satin gowns, he doused 2,075 couples with water as they passed in review to the strains of Mendelssohn's "Wedding March."

A lot of them had just met a few weeks prior–at ceremonies called matchings. Isn't that what we used to call blind dates?

Anyhow, these 4,150 individuals were then purified for 40 days before the wedding could be consummated. Moon and his wife had just had their 13th child the previous month. So I don't think they had to be purified.

I spent some time in Korea and I do not remember meeting this Rev. Sun Myung Moon. I regret missing out on that. But he was probably just a kid and wouldn't have had any advice for me anyhow.

I will close this section with a direct quote from my favorite source, entitled Chronicle of the 20th Century. This is not some comic book. It is a very expensive limited edition–only 2,000 were printed. They were distributed by Brown and Bigelow. The only other person I know who has one of these is Tom Berry, former president of the Percheron Horse Association of America. He lives down in Missouri with a woman named Theo. We like them both a lot.

Following is what I actually found on page 1208 of this impressive tome–as of August 23, 1982:


August 23, The Exxon Corporation has announced it will close 850 service stations in the Northeast and Midwest because it sees no prospect of an upswing in the declining demand for gasoline. Exxon, the world's largest oil company, also said it would reduce production capacity at a major refinery in New Jersey from 250,000 to 100, 000 barrels a day. Analysts said the cutbacks showed that even the industry leader had to adjust to a new pattern of lower oil use. "Over the long term, we see demand for petroleum products in this country leveling off or perhaps declining," an Exxon spokesman said.

(ALL OF THIS FROM EXXON CAN BE FOUND ON PAGE 1208 OF "CHRONICLES OF THE 20TH CENTURY".) After reading it, ask yourself if you still think all big shots are so smart?

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