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Our Progressive Farmer Boys
SHOULD THE FARM BOY DRINK? A Little Talk, With Nothing About Drinking as an “Awful Sin,” but Only a Calm Inquiry as to Whether or Not It Pays to Drink Moderately—What Life Insurace Tables Show. My DEAR FARMER BOY: We published in this department last week a letter from “Uncle Henry” Wallace about “Amusements for Boys,” suggesting the formation of Saturday afternoon baseball clubs among farm boys, and also some thing about the value of boxing and wrestling. This article was published because we want our “Progressive Farmer Boys” to have strong bodies, because we want them to be strong, healthy, well-developed men, and because we want them to have plenty of whole some recreation. You might talk over “Uncle Henry’s” letter with your father and mother and see what can be done about this sugges tion. But if it is not practicable to organize a baseball club or to carry out any of the rest of “Uncle Hen ry’s” suggestions, there are still plenty of other wholesome amuse ments open to the farm boy such as the town boy often has to grow up without. VI I. 1 In this particular letter, however, I am not going to say so much about your amusements as about the ways of building up a strong, healthy body. On the farm you can get lots of exercise if you work as you ought, and you ought to be thankful that you can work out in the fields and the sunshine and the open air instead of being shut up in some crowded shop or factory. You have far bet ter chances for health and happi ness. And health and happiness—what better things is there to seek after except to make your life of some service to others? And the basis of health and happiness is good health. Now our farmer boys usual ly have good health, but a great many of them, while in good health now, are contracting habits which will ruin their health a few years later. And this is what we don’t want you to do. n. Most serious of all these habits is the drinking habit, and I should like for us to talk together about it just a little. Now I am not going to lec ture you, and I am not going to say a word about its being an “awful sin” or anything of the sort. We are Just going to talk about it as a busi ness matter and find out if it pays. That’s all. Now, my conviction from a great deal of observation and study is, that It doesn’t pay, and I am going to tell you the reason why. If your drink ing were simply a boyish prank, I shouldn’t have a thing to say about it, because I know that while you may play rough practical jokes and may take dare-devil risks now and then, that s just the boy in you, and you are straight and square and hon est at bottom and you are going to come out all right. What I want to say about this drinking business, however, is that it is a very different matter from these pranks and feats and jokes in which a boy may naturally and healthfully let off steam.” They may not leave you any the worse, but drink will. A great danger is that if you be gin drinking at all, you can’t keep from drinking immoderately. There are all kinds of chances that you will wind up as a dirty, bloated, worth less drunkard—one of the kind, as Uncle Remus says, that is “not fit ten to stop a gully wld”—but what I want you to remember is that even if you should only drink moderately, you will not live so long, you will not be so healthy, nor will you be so happy, as you will be if you don’t drink at all. III. In other words, no matter whether drinking is a sin or not, you want to live a good long life, and you want a healthy body, a steady nerve, and a clear brain, and you can’t have these if you drink even moderately. Take the matter of length of life. The life insurance companies have been keeping careful records of thousands and thousands of men be ginning years and years before you were born, to find out just how drinking affects a man’s health and length of life. It’s their business, you know. Well, they started out before they began these records with the idea that a man was actually helped by drinking some whiskey, and in England 40 years ago they tried to make Robert Warren pay a higher premium because he was a teetotaler. So Warren started a so ciety which has kept track of thou sands and thousands of English in surance cases for over 40 years, the result proving that the death rate is over a third higher for moderate drinkers than for total abstainers. | In other words, in any given year, four men die among the drinkers for every three who die among an equal number of abstainers. Of every 100 drinkers the life insurance compa nies expect to die in a year, 9 4 of the 100 die, but of ever 100 expect ed deaths among abstainers only 71 die. Again, it has been proved that of every 100 persons thirty years old who drink, only 44 of the 100 will live to be seventy; but if you take 100 30-year-old persons who don’t drink, 55 of the 100 will live to be seventy. Isn’t It worth something to you (even if drinking paid in other ways, as it doesn’t) to have a 2 5 per cent better chance to live out your “three score years and ten,” sb you do by not drinking. IV. These figures are based on the English experience, but the figures for America tell the same story. In a recent address at one of our South ern agricultural colleges 1 heard Richmond P. Hobson, the famous Alabama Spanish War hero, give the farmer boys there the showing of these American statistics. Among other things he pointed out that without drinking the prospect of life when you are 20 years old is 4 4 more years of living, but w ith drink ing only 31 years—an average re duction of 13 years in length of life due to the drink habit. Or take the evidence of Mr. Ed ward A. Woods, a practical Insurance manager of Pittsburg, Pa., who says furthermore that 40 per cent—near ly half—of the men who have such diseased bodies, weakened nerves, etc., that they can’t get life insur ance at all “are for causes connected with alcohol.” Experiments which a distinguished group of scientists made with a group of laboring men showed that even beer drinking decreased the output of labor 8^ per cent; while in clerical and intellectual work the damage was even greater. It is because the people under stand these things that all classes are frowning on the young man who drinks. If you want to get a job, the boy who drinks is passed over and the young fellow who doesn't is taken. That’s one reason why country boys usually beat the city boys in business: there is less drink ing in the country. If you want to succeed in farming—as I hope you do—and if you want to marry the prettiest or smartest girl in the neighborhood—as I hope you do it's all the same story. The chances are against you if you drink. V. Now there's no use for me to dis cuss this subject further with you and I can only ask you to look up the further facts set forth in our “Two-Minute Health Talk" this week on “What Medical Authorities Say About Drinking.-’ The whole story is that I want you to live out a long, healthy, happy life, and 1 want you to be a success, and I know the chances are against this if you drink. That’s why 1 want all our “Progressive Farmer Boys" to have nerve enough to let liquor alone. I like a boy who has spunk, and you do, too; and often It takes more spunk to refuse to take a drink than it does to ride a bucking broncho or swim across a raging river. But if you will shake hands with me on this proposition I am sure I can trust you to show the spunk when it's needed. Sincerely your friend. CLARENCE POE Hoys, Ihm’t Pull Fodder. Now, 1 “know what I am talking about,” when 1 affirm that fully one third of a corn crop is lost when the stalks are stripped of the blades and later the ears and left in the field to be in the way of the next crop. jn this rough estimate I take into con sideration the advantage of getting the stalks off the land and entirely out of the way. The agriculturally of the Georgia Experiment Station used to say that he believed It would be sound practice to cut nnd shock and then shed the stalks and blades even if not used for feeding, but only for stable bedding. Possibly It is ( rather extreme statement, but it Il lustrates his confidence in the wis dom of the practice which 1 fully shared. it's a great advantage to have the stalks all out of the way of the peas, out of the way of the plows and harrows and grain drill, which should follow the corn harvest. Even if the old. dry stalks left In the field after the harvesting, in the usual way, be cut up and plowed down they will be of no advantage to the imme diately succeeding small grain, little or none to the next spring's crop, and very much In the way of the young cotton, if cotton shall follow corn. It takes well nigh twelve months for corn stalks to moulder away into unrecognisable mould or dust, and until It reaches that stage of decom position it can be of precious little help in any way to a crop that may be planted on the land Col. R. J. Redding, of Georgia. A CITY business man who sent his farmer brother a copy of “A Southerner in Europe", writes us as follows: " Please note the enclosed bit, cut out of a letter from my sister in reference to your book, and note that my father, now seventy years old, was much interested in it." Th« “eaclosed bit” cut out from bl* •(•tor's letter, rt»»d* as follows: had to d .man' ,7? year* 0,d ha<1 uwvwr rt,ttd u book through before. . .. op ° r#,t hut If your eyes are younger, you may not read e r P' R W ° Connor’ author of "Cornelius HarmeU": "I fn. “ T!r ^ C°Ver wllbout stopping—a whole day of delight before laaf a«dJ°h^ 8harp Wl,1,ama> of Mississippi says: "I read It night clroHni .„v. J* Tery mucb'M Kl «®*‘'ruor Aycock. of North other aleM h . cba,Jter of A Southerner In Europe/ the h#rH: Bh -rh‘VD8 f°,r th® flrat Um* ,ound an opportunity to look Into ;rnmH* ‘D* raad tb® ,aat chapter. I turned back and took the book up rom the beginning, and nearly completed It before laylag It down." No Farmer’s Book Case l» Complete Without It U youra®,f' your w,fe and your children to put this of vTtwl th 5 hh, h°“®~,ot aa ordinary book of travels, but a book full w* CtM ab°Ut tb® bl* tb,nK" al1 Southerners may learn aa to how Europeans work. live, and are governed. ?J>*per’ ^ cents; Cloth, $1. With The Progressive Farmer and Gazette one year, Cloth, $1.50; Paper Copy, $1.30. Pree Paper ^Py *ny subscriber sending $1 in NEW subscriptions to The Progressive Farmer and Gazette.