Works in the Herald 1934
EPISTLES TO AB - GREAT MINDS AND GRASSHOPPERS

Fourway Farm,
November 9, 1934.

Dear Ab,

I fancy in my last letter a week ago, I said something about having a bit of rain in these parts.

Well, anything good or bad about the rain which I then wrote still goes, becos it ainít stopped raining since except just to pull up its socks and take a deep breth and send it down a bit harder.

There is a sort of sispicion taking root among the deep thinkers in this districk that this here wireless broadcasting is playing hokey with the weather.

I am pretty sure that the city experts and wise heads would give a holler laugh of scorn to hear a raw sort of theery like that, but the deep thinkers of the wide spaces aint exackly mugs for all their simple nachers and muddy boots.

What they want to know is are these here experts and wise heads game to say straight out and posative that wireless ainít got anything to do with weather and rain and things?

Seems to me like, that when some of these her big browed blokes goes so fur as to make a religion out of science they can get just as bigited as the most ignerint tub thumper that ever preached hellfire for babies and sucklins.

It might be well, Ab, if you give a bit of thought to these things now and then if you want to keep a level mind. Because as a man gets older he is bound to run up against them and it ainít sense to take any manís say so without a god helping of salt.

As I told you, your old man has took to books in his old age, and now and then I fell the going pretty rough and tough. I just been digging into a pretty deep thinking book by this here great minded fella H. G. wells, and he makes me laugh.

Far be it form me, a poor ignerint son of soil, to go laughing out of me turn.

But Mr Wells tries to show us what this old world is going to be some hundred year or so ahead. And, after a whole lot of triles and tribulations its going to b e a fair heaven on erth according to Mr Wells. And that aint so much the sort of heaven its likely to be as the sort Mr Wells wants it to be.

Thatís where I takes the liberty to laugh, Ab. Because, seems to me, that when blokes like this Mr Wells has give up all hope of the heaven their old grandads believed in they got to set to and bild a homemade heaven of their own jist to satisfy something inside of them.

Which seems to prove that, no matter how far a man drifts from the faith of his fathers, he aint ever contented without a heaven of some sort, whether its got golden pavements and harps and wings or glass speedways, wireless music and self-sailing airyplanes.

And that starts up a line of thought about faith and religion what just leads a man thinking round in the same old circle.

Thatís where all my reading has got me so far, Ab -- thinking round in circles, without anything solid like the old fashioned faith to lay hold of and stop the giddy whirlygig.

And that brings me back where I started to rain and wireless and progress genrally and grasshoppers.

A while ago, if you remember, these here ekonamists and sienctists was telling us that all this trouble and depression was doo to over production.

Right, says the grasshoppers, heres our chance they says. Lets get to work and eat up what man donít want and help the poor fella back to health and prosperity.

But as soon as the grasshoppers starts getting on with the good work the men gets the wind up and yells Ill stop em! Poison em! They are going to starve us to deth!

Well, I dunno. Seems like we are getting into that old circle again. May be Ime wrong, but seems to me we might go back and take another chance with old grandadís Providence and just see what He can do about it. Because it looks awful lie this here human progress of ours is getting lie a dog chasing its tail.

Well, Ab, you got to think it out for yourself. I have got one little drib out of me reading, and thinking, and that is that no man can help another in things like this, even his own father however wise.

Me and your ma is both doing nicely, and things up here is much the same - especially the rain.

Love from all at home.

Your aff. father.
JAS. JAMES

"Den"
Herald, 10 November 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005