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City Grazing: The Landscape Management Company Powered by Goats

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
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August 4, 2022 3:00 am

City Grazing: The Landscape Management Company Powered by Goats

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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August 4, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Anne Clare tells the story of a nurse who served in the Philippines during World War II, and shares the experience that she and others like her went through after the Japanese invasion there. Genevieve Church, the third "Goat Lady of San Francisco", is executive director of City Grazing. She shares about how this sustainable land management and fire prevention non-profit organization came to be. At the start of the 1948 election cycle, President Truman was down and out in the polls. His opponent, Thomas Dewey, turned down an invitation to appear at the National Plowing Match in Dexter, Iowa. Truman would instead go and eventually win the state and another term in office.

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Time Codes:

00:00 - The WWII Nurses who Cared for their Fellow POWs

10:00 - City Grazing: The Landscape Management Company Powered by Goats

35:00 - How the National Plowing Match in Iowa Won Truman the Election

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This is Lee Habib, and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star, the show where the American people are the star.

One of our favorite topics to talk about on this show is history. The Angels of Bataan were Navy and Army nurse corps members who were stationed in the Philippines during the outbreak of World War II. These nurses faced some of the most grueling conditions of the war, some even being captured and held as POWs by the Japanese.

Here's our regular contributor, Anne Claire, with the story of one of them. Nursing was not a career for a nice unmarried girl in the 1930s. After all, it was dirty physical work, and it required learning far too much information about the opposite sex. However, it was also one of the few opportunities for a young woman who couldn't afford college to continue her education.

In the Depression-era United States, the 16 cents an hour a hospital paid wasn't bad either. Georgia-born Frances Nash was one of the many young women who ignored social stigma and joined the Army Nurse Corps. Nash was given the relative rank of lieutenant, meaning she didn't undergo military training and didn't rank a salute or full pay.

She didn't even have an official uniform, just insignia to wear on the collar of her white civilian nurse's dress. However, she did have the opportunity to volunteer for service overseas. In 1940, Nash volunteered for a two-year tour in the Philippines. Stirrings of war on the horizon concerned her family and friends. Was now really a good time to go abroad? Nash responded to the effect that, if war were coming, the Philippines would be where nurses were needed.

She wasn't the only one who thought so. The United States' preparations for war were slow and incomplete, but they had already begun increasing the medical staff of the six Philippine military hospitals, five Army and one Navy, doubling the complement of nursing staff. On Monday, December 8, 1941, which would be December 7, back in the United States on the other side of the international dateline, Nash and her fellow nurses awoke to news of the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Three hours later, the first Japanese planes struck the Philippines. Within two weeks, Japanese forces landed, General MacArthur removed to Corregidor, and the evacuation of U.S. and Filipino forces to the Bataan Peninsula began. On Christmas Eve, Lieutenant Nash's evacuation preparations were interrupted.

Her commanding officer, Colonel J. W. Duckworth, called her in. He told her that she would be expected to remain behind in Manila until all of the staff and supplies were evacuated from the hospital. She was also told to prepare herself to be taken prisoner. She spent her Christmas day working in surgery and burning documents.

That night, she was evacuated by boat, the waters lit by blazing buildings on the land and ships in the harbor. Eventually, after some time spent in foxholes and fleeing through the jungle, Nash arrived to serve in hospital number one on the Bataan Peninsula, the most forward of the hospitals. She and the other medical staff worked through the long, disheartening struggle to hold Bataan, struggling to save lives.

Not all of her patients were American or Filipino. At times, medics would bring wounded Japanese into the surgery, many of them were items they'd taken from American troops as spoils of war. The Japanese had not signed the Geneva Convention, which declared medical facilities off limits as military targets, and Nash's hospital suffered for it. After an attack on the 6th of April, of 1,600 beds, only 65 were left standing. Three days later, the remaining defenders of Bataan surrendered.

A month later, General Wainwright surrendered Korgador. Along with the thousands of U.S. and Filipino troops who surrendered, more than 60 nurses, including Nash, were taken as prisoners of war. For years of captivity, Nash and the other nurses would continue to care for the wounded and for the sick. Nursing may not have been considered a nice profession in polite society, but as the monument on Korgador, which commemorates the service of Nash and her fellow nurses shows, in the eyes of some, they were far more than nice. They were angelic. The inscription reads, In honor of the valiant American military women who gave so much of themselves in the early days of World War II, they provided care and comfort to the gallant defenders of Bataan and Korgador. They lived on a starvation diet, shared the bombing, strafing, sniping, sickness and disease, while working endless hours of heartbreaking duty. These nurses always had a smile, a tender touch, and a kind word for their patients.

They truly earned the name, the Angels of Bataan and Korgador, dedicated on this sixth day of May 2000. And a great job on the production by Monty Montgomery. And a special thanks to Anne Claire for sharing with us the story of Frances Nash. She volunteered for service overseas, a two-year tour of duty in the Philippines, starting in 1940. There's probably no tougher place to be in the world than the place she ended up being in.

By December of 1941, just hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, in came the Japanese into Manila and into the Philippines. And from there, became a POW. And this is the work and the duty and the service that so many of our women showed during World War II, and we showcase those stories. Frances Nash's story, The Angels of Bataan, here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

But we truly can't do this show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to our American stories.com and click the donate button. Give a little, give a lot.

Go to our American stories.com and give. Geico asks, how would you love a chance to save some money on insurance? Of course you would. And when it comes to great rates on insurance, Geico can help. Like with insurance for your car, truck, motorcycle, boat and RV. Even help with homeowners or renters coverage. Plus add an easy to use mobile app, available 24 hour roadside assistance and more, and Geico is an easy choice. Switch today and see all the ways you could save. It's easy.

Simply go to Geico.com or contact your local agent today. And we return to our American stories. And now it's time for another rule of law story as a part of our rule of law series, where we show you the absence or presence of the rule of law in our lives. Here's our own Monty Montgomery with a story. Danielle Michaelson's story begins in Rolla, North Dakota. So I'm a North Dakota native. I grew up about 30 miles from where I currently live. I married my high school sweetheart.

I went to the university of North Dakota to be a high school English teacher, which I immediately started doing when I graduated in 1994. So I was an English teacher for 22 years, but the entire time that I was doing that and raising my kids, I was always gardening. It was in my blood. My grandmother was a gardener. My mom and dad were gardeners.

I just seemed like the thing people did. You know, you had to have a garden. You had to produce your own food. You had to save it for the winter.

You had to can and process. And then of course, cook homemade meals. So we were always food producers, but food producers just for our family.

In 2014, I was still teaching and still gardening. And my sons who were then 14 and 12 wanted to make a little money to go visit their grandparents who live in Las Vegas in the winter time. And I told them they could sell all of our extra vegetables at our farmer's market. We set up a card table and the bowls from my kitchen, and they sold green beans and potatoes and some onions. And they made $72 and they were beyond excited at how great they were at it. And over the course of the next few years, we grew, our tables grew, our tents grew.

We started canning everything from pickles to sulfas, to gems and jellies. And it became an intense passion. This growth of this business became a passion. And all of a sudden I realized that my heart needed to be in that garden and not in a classroom anymore. And that was the year that I decided that was the last time that I would leave my garden at the end of August, that the next August I would be there with it and I would no longer be in the classroom. I quit teaching.

My world and my passion had changed and I needed to chase it. And Danielle would name her business, Michelson Tiny Plants. But why? So our business is called Michelson Tiny Plants because when our kids were really little, they were tiny, tiny humans. I mean, even as they grew, they were still little, little people. And we always referred to them as tiny pants.

Come here, tiny pants. And I feel like, I feel like it every time that when I start my tiny plants growing in the spring, it's like growing your children. There's this attachment to this life that's coming out of the ground and it's ground that belongs to me and is nurtured by me. And I watched them, I watched the plants grow and I watched them produce food. And I remember one of the years, first years I was teaching, I'd been reading an article about food security and how people often don't have food security in their life. And I was standing in the middle of my garden and I realized that I was, it was my food security and I could help make it food security for my community.

Which is important to Rala. She's providing a service nobody else does in her city and giving people options such as healthy food. North Dakota is a very long distance from where the majority of fruits and vegetables are grown that end up in our grocery store. The average time from when a vegetable is picked till it gets to Rala, North Dakota is between 10 and 14 days. And if you take a look at the science of food, the minute you pick a fresh vegetable, it starts to lose nutrients. And I started thinking about, you know, that, that loss of nutrients by the time it gets to the grocery store and how I could provide to our community food that had been picked literally the day before. You know, we also have a practice that we believe in no waste and we just decided to start using our, what we were growing in products that had a little bit longer shelf life. So some of the overage goes into jars and we just started putting a few out on the, on the table with our vegetables and realized that we had a following.

People were coming back and asking for more. We made 1950 jars last year of dill pickles. And from there we started looking at what you couldn't get in Rala, North Dakota. Like what can't you get in Rala, North Dakota? One thing was sour dough bread. There's no way to get fresh sourdough bread.

We don't even have a bakery in Rala. We do tomato juice. We do a spicy tomato juice.

And so we use our peppers and our onions and our jalapenos and our tomatoes and we make a cold press juice that we can. And then one day the food freedom bill was passed that allowed us to start processing food into other things. Otherwise known as house bill 1433, the cottage food act was passed by elected officials in the North Dakota House and Senate and opened the door for Danielle's business to expand even more. You see, before the bill passed, things like pizza and French onion soup could only be sold out of somewhere with a commercial kitchen, but now Danielle and others could sell out of their home kitchens directly to their customers.

People have been doing this forever, right? You bake muffins and take them over to your neighbor and give them to them and they enjoy them. Then your neighbor says, can you make me four dozen?

I want them for my family. And you couldn't at that point sell them to them. You could give them to them, but you couldn't sell them, which seems kind of strange to me. So the cottage food law actually freed that up. As long as the transaction is person to person, as long as the producer of the food is handing the food to the consumer and the consumer can ask the questions and take a look at the product and decide if they trust you. And inherently that's what these small businesses are about, right?

Friendships and trust. Then you can sell to them. And it really made a huge difference for people who wanted to try starting a small business. Biting the bullet in, putting in a hundred thousand dollar commercial kitchen because you think you might be good at something is a little scary, but you could actually do a test market. You can have your own test market now.

You can try selling things. How did I know that so many people were going to love my dill pickles? My family loves them, but does that mean that everyone who tries them actually will come back to buy more? We didn't know. And so as our business grew, that was a big deal. What the cottage food law allowed was for people to start to expand. And for us, that's exactly what it meant. Our business grew.

I think it was, you know, it was this. So I quit teaching in June, 2017 and the cottage food law passed in August, 2017. So it was just this immense excitement that when I had trans, you know, when I quit teaching to become a small food producer, this was like another door opened in front of me again. And I could just envision where my business could go. It was just a, it was a reinforcing my decision to be a small food producer and a business woman. And it was, you know, like the stars aligned, right?

I quit teaching. I put all my energy into this and then this magical door opened and I could use all my creativity and all my planning and thoughts to grow my business literally straight forward. At least that's what Danielle thought would happen with the new law in place. She didn't expect the face of lawlessness from her own government. And you're listening to Danielle Michaelson tell the story of her own freedom to pursue her passion.

It turned out that passion was in the garden. When we come back, more of this story from Rolla, North Dakota, Danielle Michaelson's story, a freedom story and a rule of law story here on Our American Stories. When we continue with Our American Stories and the story of Danielle Michaelson, when we last left off, Danielle was growing her business and was lent a massive helping hand by the passage of the cottage food laws. But the smooth sailing wouldn't last much longer. Let's continue with her story. Everything seemed to be going well for Danielle Michaelson, but the North Dakota Department of Health had other ideas and tried to get rid of the cottage food laws, which allowed Danielle to sell food she otherwise couldn't. I mean, it was a whirlwind of craziness, right?

We weren't even sure how this could possibly be happening. But the health department decided that they were worried about the safety of these foods, even though there was no foodborne illness in farmers market produced cottage foods, produced foods since the passing of the law. And they tried to have the law changed and they failed. They failed because the North Dakota legislature refused to make the changes to the law that the health department wanted. But after this, the health department did it anyways, which is a violation of the rule of law because administrative bodies can't pass laws on their own.

They can only carry out laws that the legislature passed. I suddenly had to stop selling my soup. I suddenly had to put all of my ideas on hold. And I was I was just shocked. I was shocked that this is where we had gotten.

Because like I said, I was elated with what could come. And then it was just stopped dead over in this fear for food safety. And I'm not faulting them for that. But the one thing I stressed over and over again is when you buy a jar of salsa from me or you buy a quart of soup from me, I actually take what I feed my family from the exact same supply. And I am going to be above and beyond careful about what I am providing to people for sale because that's the exact same food that I'm feeding my family. And that's how cottage food producers feel. Also, in a business model, the reality is, is you make one person sick and your business is done. So small business can't ride out an E. coli outbreak on Romaine like we've seen across the nation.

Small business has to be on top of their game and specific in particular and perfect at all times. That's why we were surprised when these rules came out because we felt like we were we were the best of the best. Right. And suddenly we're the ones that are suffering under the administrative rules. It almost makes you feel like you're not intelligent enough to know better. That's offensive, right?

I'm good at this. And my customers were just heartbroken that they couldn't get the soup that they had learned to depend on. And they're so funny because all of the people that live in my community are they all have the ability to cook and cook well. But French onion soup takes a very long time to caramelize all those onions. And they always like to say, you know, I could make this myself, but I'd much rather you did it because yours is so good and I don't have to do all the work. And they come to market and they want to buy soup.

And I have to say, I'm sorry, but the health department made rules and I can't sell you soup anymore. And then the crazy part is, is if you're if you are, you know, an English teacher from a town of 1400, you don't even know what you can do to fight it. I had no clue. I didn't have the resources to hire an attorney to fight.

I wasn't even sure what the fight would be. And for the most part, you know, we're just rule-following, law-abiding, happy people. And we don't get put in places where we're suddenly fighting against administrative rules. I'd never even heard that term before. Oh, probably when I was in high school, I heard that term before, but I'd never thought about it since high school. And so I didn't even know what to do. And that's why I said that, you know, my business segmented and my hopes and dreams sort of died for a second. I just buckled down and went back to work. You know, I guess we'll just sell fresh fruits and vegetables and the things that we can bake and can and we'll give up soup.

And that's just how it will go. You just sort of resign yourself. And I think that's a terrible thing to say about what happened to me. Thankfully, she would be approached by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that stands up for Americans when their rights are violated, at no cost to people like Danielle. I was so thankful for the Institute for Justice because I didn't even know we could fight it and suddenly they showed up, you know, like they're your knight in shining armor and they're like, we can help you. And I'm like, you've got to be kidding me.

And they're like, no, we can help you. You just have to be willing to stand up and be, you know, the plaintiff in the case. And here we go. You know, they explained to me that it was unconstitutional and I hadn't even thought of it on that level. What they did unilaterally with the with the administrative rules was circumvent what the entire House and Senate had.

You know, they had spoken. We're not changing the law. They circumvented that entire process when they had already voted it down.

There was also a second violation of the rule of law. The North Dakota Constitution states that people have to be treated equally under the law. But the rules created by the health department didn't do that. You see, the regulations allow a farmer to sell uninspected raw poultry while banning a home cook like Danielle from selling chicken noodle soup. That makes no sense.

It's completely arbitrary. And thankfully, the court saw it that way, too, and ruled in Danielle's favor. They they won. And we just got this email that said you won your case. And that was it. It was over. And all of a sudden, my brain just spun thinking about all of the ways that this had opened this door for me again. And it was time to not worry about being stopped and just barrel forward. And we have new goals now.

And the goals are super funny or super interesting or super ironic, however you want to see it. But our next goal is to build a large scale indoor market that will actually have a commercial kitchen and commercial kitchens will allow us to ship. And so even though my fight was for cottage food, which means I can cook it in my kitchen, my long term goal gets me a commercial kitchen.

And then I'm, you know, on the other side, you know, then I've crossed over. But the reality is, without the cottage food ability, I would have never been able to build my teeny tiny business that started in 2014 to a place where I'm ready to build a facility and have a commercial kitchen. So maybe in one more year, we will be looking at building a new facility right on our main street.

Now watch me now this business is going to grow like crazy. And great job as always to Monty Montgomery and a special thanks to the folks at the Institute for Justice, who represented Danielle Michelson and represented her freedom to sell food on an equal playing field. And also for the people of North Dakota, it allowed them to get this kind of food and not have it blocked by people who weren't represented in their state legislature. These rules were passed and promulgated by people at the Department of Health.

And the Department of Health doesn't have the right in North Dakota to do such things. What was fascinating was listening to Danielle's sheer frustration. She said, I didn't know what to do.

I didn't even know what the fight was, or who it was with, and what she could do about it. And in came the Institute for Justice, and well did what they do, which is represent mostly small businesses in rule of law and property right cases, the story of Danielle Michelson, the story of Michelson tiny plants, and about so much more, but particularly the rule of law here on Our American Stories. And we return to Our American Stories and up next, a story about when our 33rd president made an all important visit to a small town in Iowa.

Here's our own Monty Montgomery with a story. Dexter Iowa is a small town with a lot of heart. And even though its population has never exceeded 1000 people, there's a lot of history there. The Barrow gang had a famous shootout there. They hosted an amusement park at one point. And it was also once a presidential campaign stop. The presidential campaign stop for that election cycle.

Here's Rod Stanley with more on that. September 1948. President Truman came to Dexter, Iowa for the national plowing match. It was a big deal. The national plowing match was a big, big deal. But what exactly is a plowing match? Roughly put, it's a competition to see who's the best farmer. They judged him on I mean, they judged him on different things. They brought their tractors and their plows. And there were judges that judged how well you plowed the field, how straight it was, how open it was.

They had some other like, conservation, like making a pond, they made a pond on my uncle's farm, they blew up, they're using dynamite and they blew up land, they made a waterway to drain water off and stuff. This was a statewide thing. So it was a national thing too. So there, you had lots of people coming in from like, there's an there was an airport south of Dexter, southwest of Dexter. In that day, like 120 airplanes landed and brought bringing people in.

They estimated the crowd between 75 and 100,000. How did President Truman even get involved in this whole thing? It boils down to the drive of a radio personality, Truman's opponent, and like a lot of things in politics, poll numbers. The guy he was running against was a fellow by the name of Thomas Dewey from New York. And Thomas Dewey was so far ahead in the polls, her plan back famous WHO foreign personality was in charge of organizing this whole thing. And her plan back, called or went and talked to Thomas Dewey and ask him, you want to be the headliner out here in Dexter and talk to these people. And Dewey said, in so many words, I'm pretty doing pretty well in the polls.

I don't think I need to come out to Iowa and to talk to these people. So her plan back then called up and scheduled a meeting with Truman. And normally they're on a limited time basis when they talk to the president and so on. But they made an appointment and they talked to Truman and actually went over the time limit because Truman liked talking. I mean, Truman was one of those guys that liked to talk to him. And he was a former farmer too.

I mean, as far as he was a farming occupation before he got into politics. And he said, well, boys, he said, I would really like to come out and to do that. But he says, I don't think the secret service will allow me to do what I want to do.

And that's to go out and mingle and talk to people and, and so on. And so when her plan back left that meeting, he thought, well, gosh, I don't think, I don't think Truman's going to come either. And so it kind of sat that way until like three weeks before the event and the White House calls her plan back up and says, Truman's coming.

That threw a whole big wrench because they had to make sure that, you know, the security had to be better and there's a lot of things they had to do to prepare for the president. Truman started over in Eastern Iowa in Davenport on the Rock Island Railroad line, the one that runs through Dexter and goes across the state. And he gave a speech there early in the morning. Then he gave a speech at Oxford, Iowa, I believe. And then a speech in Grinnell and a speech in Des Moines. Never in the world were the farmers of any republic or any kingdom or any other country as prosperous as the farmers of the United States.

And if they don't do their duty by the Democratic Party, they're the most ungrateful people in the world. And those were just preliminaries. And he actually, I believe, picked up his wife Bess and his daughter Margaret in Des Moines. And they rode the train out to Dexter. The band Dexter band was there to meet Truman.

I believe they played the Missouri waltz for him when they when he arrived at the depot in Dexter. They had brought his Cadillac, his robin egg blue Cadillac out according to my uncle Dean Stiles about three days before and everybody was wondering what the heck was that was going on, bringing that blue Cadillac out here. And eventually they figured it out that it was the president and he was going to be stopping and going out to the plowing match. But he was concerned, still concerned about the Secret Service blocking his style. But he came anyway. The people said that we're sitting with Truman. When Truman saw the crowd, when Truman saw how big the crowd was, he said his he had a smile from ear to ear. He was just loving it. He was saying this is this is going to give me an opportunity to really to get my cam.

I'm so far behind. It can't hurt. It's going to give me a chance to to hammer home my points. The majority of these farmers that attended were of the Republican persuasion. But he got 13 ovations that day. And he really hammered on the Republicans to do the do nothings he called them, the do nothing Congress. It was his first major campaign speech of the 1948 election. He used this type of campaign, the whistle stop, using the train traveling around, stop and talk in small towns to people to actually turn the tide.

It's interesting. When Thomas Dewey found out 100 people, 100,000 people showed up in Dexter, Iowa, he got a little nervous. And he actually got the Republicans in in in Iowa to have a campaign thing for him in Des Moines.

And they actually got like 15,000 people to hear Thomas Dewey give a speech which it which is a pretty good crowd, but nothing like Truman. But anyway, when Truman was here, he ate lunch. We have stuff in the museum, the tablecloth actually that that was on the table that he ate off of. But anyway, he ate lunch out there had fried chicken dinner, mashed potatoes and corn and relish tray and all apple pie or had different kinds of pie. And then he went out on a he went out on a wagon to look at some of the projects, the conservation projects that they were doing that day.

It wasn't only a plowing contest, but there was some, like they were making a pond and they were making waterways and they were doing some other stuff, conservation things that out there on that in that area as well. But anyway, he went out and and he was on the back of a hay wagon. And of course, the Secret Service was with him. And they were they were cruising along and the Secret Service looked around and Truman wasn't on the wagon anymore. And he had jumped off the wagon and he was heading down to where they were making this pond.

And we called it Walker's Pond back when I was growing up was on Howard Walker's property was Piper property back in then. But anyway, so those people that were on the bulldozers had actually been told by the Secret Service earlier that if Truman came down there to turn off the bulldozers and just sit on the bulldozers. And so if the president comes over and wants to ask you questions and and that kind of thing. And and so that's what they did. They saw they saw this guy coming down. They figured it was Truman or some of them recognized him. So they turned their bulldozers off and Truman got down there, which is chatting with them like, you know, like you normally chat with people. And he said, well, why did you turn off your bulldozers for?

I mean, you guys got work to do. And he said, well, we were told by the Secret Service to to do that. And Truman said, well, he says the next time they ask you to do that, you tell those SOBs that you aren't going to do that.

You just keep right on working. You know, he got everybody got a big laugh out of that. And of course, the Secret Service gets down there and puts him back on the wagon and away they go. But that was Truman. And but he did get to talk to some of the people out there. But like I said, this this was a huge boost to his is it turned the tide as far as his his election.

And he was really the only one in the articles I read. He was the only one even his wife had given up. He was so far behind that he was going to lose.

And he she said, we need to start packing things up to get back to Missouri and and live in Independence where our house there. And Truman says he doesn't want to give up yet. And he election came in November and he was listening to it and he was holding his own and in it and and do he wasn't blowing him away and he goes to bed thinking that probably the next morning that you know that maybe I won't be president but he he was kind of had a quiet confidence he thought he thought he was going to win and the next morning the results are are rolling in and Truman's winning and he's gonna he's gonna end up winning the election and it was a huge, huge upset. I mean, there was no way that he was supposed to win but they say that win all started right here in the one horse town of Dexter, Iowa in 19 September of 48. And a great job is always on the production and the storytelling by Monty Montgomery and a special thanks to Rod Stanley of the Dexter Museum in Dexter, Iowa. Dexter is a one light town and the small museum is right off the main street running through it. If you're in the neighborhood, I'll drop by and take a visit. We love visiting these really small, small towns and telling stories about them. And the national plowing match of 1948 helps propel Truman to victory. The story of Dexter and Harry Truman's campaign victory here on Our American Stories.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-17 06:57:12 / 2023-02-17 07:10:37 / 13

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