Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fifty Books in Exchange for a Cigar

L.W. Shultz was known for his love of books - he read them, he wrote them, he published them, and at Manchester College he cared for them in the college library for some twenty years. In his autobiography he reports that by the time he was 14 he had read the Bible through twice. He also tells the following story of a profitable and fateful decision made in 1906 shortly before his 16th birthday.

At the end of the threshing season in 1906 our thresherman, Joe Lefever, gave a treat to those who were in the threashing ring that ran all the way from the Stringtown road ... to the Lengel Hill.... It was a large ring as we called it. My job for several years was to sack the grain at the separator and haul it to the graineries and store it in bins. It was the hardest job in the ring and usually given to us boys. We had to be at the machine the first thing in the morning and were last to get away at night for the grain had to be stored. Well, the thresherman handed out cigars that night.

I took one home, showed it to mother, and told her that I would smoke it. It laid up on the clock shelf for some weeks. One evening in the fall before school I told mother that on the way to get the cows from the back pasture I was going to smoke that cigar. It about broke her heart and she made the bargain that if I would destroy the cigar she would give me fifty cents.

The bargain was kept and with the fifty cents I bought a permit to borrow books from the Huntington City Library. During my senior year in high school I read fifty books from that library ... It was a very profitable and fateful decision.

Source: People and Places, Lawrence W. Shultz