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Stories of Rural Life! Small Potatoes ...

Date Posted: 12/02/2015

By Tony Reynolds, Orangeville, Ontario


Sometimes shaking hands can be a daunting experience. 

Horning’s Mills is the largest community in Melancthon Township where there always seemed to be meetings of one sort or another.  People from in town and around would get together often to talk about different things.  One such meeting took place on a hot summer Saturday morning, with thunderstorms rumbling.  A group of us had met in front of the United Church.  We were going someplace from there, as I recall, but weren’t sure that there would be enough time before it rained.

I was introduced to a man from one of the local potato farms.  He was a big, hard-working man with a faded John Deere hat and a ready smile.  Unfortunately his name escapes me now but his right hand I’ll never forget. 

When I reached to shake his hand it was like trying to hold a ham.  My fingers weren’t long enough to grab, so I sort-a slapped his palm and hooked my thumb around his.  As he closed his hand, mine completely disappeared.  His grip was firm, but fortunately not crushing.  Now… I realize that my little pixie fingers dance on the keyboard, whereas his have twisted cow’s tails and picked up tractor tires, but the experience was overwhelming, nonetheless. 

As we stood there, talking idly, there was a flash and nearly simultaneous crack of thunder and the clouds opened up… a real gully-washer.  Everyone tried to crowd under the eaves but most of us were getting soaked.  He looked up at the sky and shook his head, apparently ruefully.  He looked down at me, almost smiling. “I don’t like this rain,” he said. “It ruins the small potatoes.”  



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