All Commentary
Monday, April 1, 1963

Illegal Labor or–Federal Occupation of the Wheat Belt


Economist. Fayetteville. Arkansas

It was a day in early spring

When fields were getting dry.

Old Kaspar thought of other times

When he was young and spry

Like Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Who watched the television screen.

 

They saw a rider coming hard

Along a muddy lane

Toward an isolated farm

Upon the rolling plain,

Where tumbleweed and early dust

Were showing through the winter crust.

 

“Is that another Paul Revere?”

Asked little Peterkin.

“His job is just about the same,”

Said Kaspar with a grin.

“For he’s the local farmers’ scout

Who warns when federal men are out.”

 

“Are farmers making moonshine now?” ‘

The little children cried.

“It comes to something close to that,”

Old Kaspar soon replied.

“They’re all suspected of a quirk

That makes them try to do some work.”

 

“What happens to a farmer, then,

If he is caught at work?”

“The federal men descend in swarms

From places where they lurk

To seize the property he owns

And cut him off from grants or loans.”

 

“What’s wrong with work.” asked Wilhelmine;

 “Is it against the law?”

“If you’re a farmer,” Kaspar sighed,

And have agreed to draw

A federal grant for idle soil,

You’ve sold your right to honest toil.


  • H. P. B. JENKINS, 1902-1963. Following active service in the European Theater during World War II, Dr. Harry Jenkins taught Economics in the College of Business Ad­ministration at the University of Arkansas. Many will best remember him as author of the "Old Kasper" communiques, carried continuously in THE FREEMAN since February 1959.


    Dr. Jenkins was stricken and died while walking home from graduation ceremonies on the campus, January 26, 1963.