A Broom-Corn Boom

After Grandfather’s death, Daddy decided to join his brother, Howard, in Sayre, Oklahoma, as a partner in the broom-corn buying business. Sayre was a little town of 1,000 or so residents in the plains of western Oklahoma, between Oklahoma City and Amarillo and on the banks of the North Fork of Red River. This river was a typical plains river, a mile wide and a foot deep—but only when it rained. Sayre was to grow from a population of 1,000 to nearly 3,000 in the next 20 years, and then recede after that.

The first year of their business partnership, 1917, Daddy and Howard bought more than 16 freight-car loads of broom corn, which produced a lot of household brooms; Daddy and Howard made a good profit. Daddy would visit farmers to survey the broom corn after it was gathered, threshed and baled, and offer the farmers a fixed price per bale. Often he would give farmers an advance payment to clinch the deal. Later on in his career, Daddy ventured into buying oil leases from the same farmers he had bought broom corn from. Daddy’s reputation among the farmers as an honest dealer enabled him to keep them as clients over the years.

Daddy’s anecdote about the three old maids was popular with broom-corn growers.

The first old maid brought up the topic of toilet tissue, saying how far we have come since the “outhouse” days when all there was available for toilet tissue was a Montgomery Ward catalog.

The second old maid added, “Yes indeed, just consider the advance we have made from that old slick paper tissue. Now I use a soft tissue that comes in a roll.”

The third old maid rejoined, “Well, that’s nothing to me anymore. I have been on a cracker diet for the last three months and I just use a whisk broom”.


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