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The Creamery Man
by [?]

"Along these woods in storm and sun the busy people go. "

THE tin-peddler has gone out of the West. Amiable gossip and sharp trader that he was, his visits once brought a sharp business grapple to the farmer’s wife and daughters, after which, as the man of trade was repacking his unsold wares, a moment of cheerful talk often took place. It was his cue, if he chanced to be a tactful peddler, to drop all attempts at sale and become distinctly human and neighborly.

His calls were not always well received, but they were at their best pleasant breaks of a monotonous round of duties. But he is no longer a familiar spot on the landscape. He has passed into the limbo of the things no longer necessary. His red wagon may be rumbling and rattling through some newer region, but the "coulee country" knows him no more.

"The creamery man" has taken his place. Every afternoon, rain or shine, the wagons of the North Star Creamery in "Dutcher’s Coulee" stop at the farmers’ windmills to skim the cream from the " submerged cans. " His wagon is not gay; it is generally battered and covered with mud and filled with tall cans; but the driver himself is generally young and sometimes attractive. The driver in Molasses Gap, which is a small coulee leading into Dutcher’s Coulee was particularly good-looking and amusing.

He was aware of his good looks, and his dress not only showed that he was single, but that he hoped to be married soon. He wore brown trousers, which fitted him very well, and a dark-blue shirt, which had a gay lacing of red cord in front, and a pair of suspenders that were a vivid green. On his head he wore a Chinese straw helmet; which was as ugly as anything could conceivably be, but he was as proud of it as he was of his green suspenders. In summer he wore no coat at all, and even in pretty cold weather he left his vest on his wagon seat, not being able to bring himself to the point of covering up the red and green of his attire.

It was noticeable that the women of the neighborhood always came out, even on washday, to see that Claude (his name was Claude Willlams) measured the cream properly. There was much banter about this. Mrs. Kennedy always said she wouldn’t trust him " fur’s you can fling a yearlin’ bull by the tail. "

"Now that’s the difference between us," he would reply. "I’d trust you anywhere. Anybody with such a daughter as your’n"

He seldom got further, for Lucindy always said (in substance), " Oh, you go ‘long. "

There need be no mystery in the matter.’Cindy was the girl for whose delight he wore the green and red. He made no secret of his love, and she made no secret of her scorn. She laughed at his green ‘spenders and the "red shoestring" in his shirt; but Claude considered himself very learned in women’s ways, by reason of two years’ driving the creamery wagon, and be merely winked at Mrs. Kennedy when the girl was looking, and kissed his hand at ‘Cindy when her mother was not looking.

He looked forward every afternoon to these little exchanges of wit, and was depressed when for any reason the womenfolks were away. There were other places pleasanter than the Kennedy farm–some of "the Dutchmen" had fine big brick houses and finer and bigger barns, but their women were mostly homely and went around barefooted and barelegged, with ugly blue dresses hanging frayed and greasy round their lank ribs and big joints.