Works in the Herald 1934

Fourway Farm,
December 21, 1934.

Dear Ab,

Well, they have come at last. Great big fellers with alkiline faces and hine legs like a kangaroo. I never seen such grasshoppers in me life before. And in less than a brace of shakes they are eating up every green thing in sight.

So praps after all it is just as well you ain't coming home for the Christmas holidays.

All the same, your ma is a good bit hurt to think you prefer to spend your Christmas at the seaside with your town friends instead of coming home to the old fambly seat. But what with the grasshoppers and what not I don't know as I blame you.

Your ma has rather old-fashioned ideas about Christmas, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that she would be shocked to find out you had stopped believing in Santer Claws.

Be that as it may, here is still certain dreams and delusions which even a lad of your age ain't lost yet, and one of em is that a parent what tries to make a living off the land can afford to sling around cheques just because it happens to be Christmas time.

I know you ain't said in so many words that you would be expecting such a thing, your hints ain't altogether fell on deaf ers. But though the spirit might be willing, the pocket is weak, so you will have to take the will of the deed, Ab, which is always a pretty hard thing to do where cash is concerned.

Although I have give up smoking some time ago for motives of economy, I thank you all the same for pipe what you have sent me for Christmas, and when the grasshoppers and caterpillars and floods and things lets a farmer grow something again I might be able to raise some tobaccer to smoke in it.

Your ma is likewise thankful for the three fancy hankerchiefs you sent her, although, seeing she is to be deprived of your company this year a gift of hankerchiefs seems sort of significant.

However, I don't know as you ain't wise in deciding not to come home this year, seeing that any calfs we have on the farm at present is a long way off being fatted account of grasshoppers and cetera.

I been trying to puzzle out recently why it is that every pest that is sent to plague mankind is very near always visited on the farmer, the man what keeps the country going and gets very little but a backache in return.

Not that I'm feeling downhearted -- I been toughened by that sot of thing long ago and I can always be uplifted by the thought that there was once a old hayseed in the Bible what lived on grasshoppers or locusts or somethin with a bit of honey on the side and I think I know where there is a bee hive down in the bottom paddick.

I am sorry, Ab, if this seems a bit gloomy for a Christmas letter, but I ain't reely down and out yet though you ought to see them grasshoppers. I been out two days trying to kill some of 'em with a shovel, and you ma says I'm going dippy over 'em.

However, love from all at home.

Your aff. father.

Herald, 22 December 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005