Many of us senior citizens in Cloud County were born in the former St. Joseph Hospital on 5th Street (now “Manna House”). The building had its limitations, so the Sisters of St. Joseph saw to the construction of a state-of-the-art hospital in 1951. It had a “big-city” look with four floors and a tall chimney. Thus, we got what some still see as “the NEW hospital” (though it’s 62 years old).
Not long after that, Dad thought I was old enough to do field work, so he put me on a Ford tractor to plow wheat stubble. The plow was a 3-point mounted “two-sixteen”; each time I went around the field, I plowed a strip 32 inches wide. Dad ran the John Deere 70 tractor pulling a “four-sixteen” plow. The hired man was running the “big” tractor–a Caterpillar D-4, pulling “five-sixteens”!
For comfort, each tractor had a canvas umbrella which was mainly useful when the sun was overhead. Also for comfort, the Cat and the John Deere had a place by the brake pedals to put a burlap-covered water jug. There was no such place on the Ford tractor, so I had to leave my water jug in a plow furrow and just hope that I could find it when I got thirsty. A couple of years later, I got promoted to running the John Deere, and the Ford tractor was relegated to plowing the garden.
So, for my family, the centerpiece of 1950s farm equipment was a two-cylinder John Deere tractor that maxed out pulling a 12-foot disk or a 4-bottom plow. Today, some people restore old tractors like that for fun, but they don’t try to farm with them. Instead, 21st Century farmers do all they can to bring the latest designs and technology into their operations–whether it be tractors, sprayers, or harvesting equipment. In this way, modern farmers are able to do more in a timely manner, improve their standard of living, and feed more people.
The current hospital is also a proud product of the 1950s, but there’s no getting around the fact that it is older than the John Deere tractor I drove. Though it has had its share of upgrades, CCHC will always be rooted in the 1950s. When today’s farmer wants to hire help, he or she shows the prospective employee the latest and greatest piece of equipment on the farm. In the same way, we voters will have an impact on whether or not we can retain our current medical practitioners and attract new ones by voting February 26 FOR a temporary sales tax increase. We need to keep in mind that folks from neighboring counties will help pay toward this project when they do business or shop here.
Some have tried to muddy the issue, airing political resentments or concocting a list of “what-ifs.” We need to reject that view and have faith in the future; otherwise, we’d never plant a crop, build a new hospital, or do anything worthwhile. Vote “YES.”