There was talk among some of the men in the hardware store about old John Noble, a thrifty, but hard working farmer that arrived here in Ohio back when there wasn’t so much as a state. In those early days, he had a farm that literally made a person proud to gaze upon, an utter amazement that a man could take God’s miracle of growth and turn it into such straight rows. Remember these were the early days of farming, before air conditioned cabs and GPS guidance.
Old John had a reputation in the township that he could be counted on when someone was in need. But, he wasn’t one to trifle with nonsense. With a reputation such as this, it was only the most fool hardy that tried to take advantage. Nor did John like to lend his tools out to those that didn’t have the wits about themselves to acquire their own. To John a tool was something akin to a wife. A friend might admire both, but he would never ask to borrow either.
As the men in the hardware laughed, one remembered the time one young lad walked upon Old John and said he was wondering if he could borrow John’s scythe. John looked at him for a moment, then said he didn’t have a scythe. The young one then blurted out, “But, didn’t I see it hanging up in the shed?”
“Well then. Go ahead an’ take it, but be careful of it.”
The young lad turned to walk away and suddenly realized the old farmer had trapped him, “And where will I find it sir?” the hopeful borrower asked.
Old John had a glint in his eye, when he replied, “Exactly where you spotted it,” knowing full well the young lad could never have seen it no matter how hard he looked.
For some reason, that brought the hardware men into a momentary frenzy of laughing with lots of knee slapping which drifted off into silence and fond smiles.