Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - May 16, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, May 16, 1970 - THB ICTHBftlDGE HERAID - 3 Builders Of The South-5 Margaret Luckhursl A Partnership Dedicated To Service r T IS difficult and even audacious to try to capture in a few paragraphs the dedication to service and the joie de vivre that have encompassed Asael and Maydell Palmer throughout their 81 years. The broad range of personal and community interests which they share, plus the individual ones they still pursue, should be inspiring to younger couples who view their golden years with qualms and reservations. In the Palmers' opinion, rocking chairs and idleness are not synonymous with growing old so much as they are a testimony to the inability to 'think young.' Asael Exile Palmer was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in November 1888. His early years were spent on an irrigated mountain valley farm, but in 1903 when he was 14. his parents emigrated to Alberta. They settled on an irrigated and dry farm 13 miles southeast of Lethbridge where they raised wheat, sugar beets and cattle. When he was 21, he located on a homestead in the Turin district where he experienced all the difficulties of p:o-neer farming. Because of this, his high school education was delayed until 1910 when he entered the Knight Academy in Raymond. During his high school years, one of Mr. Palmer's teachers was a young lady by the name ot Miss Maydell Cazier. Miss Cazier was born and raised in Utah, in the small town of NepW. She attended the University of Utah where she graduated in 1911 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1912 she came to Alberta where her father, who was a construction builder, was engaged in building canals for various irrigation projects. ? ? ? "After graduation and moving to Canada I began teaching at the Knight Academy, a post I was to hold for five years." Mrs. Palmer recalled during an interview recently, "one of my star pupils was Asael." "I guess you might say T was teacher's pet," Mr. Palmer smiled, "at any rate I married tier in 1916. When I received my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Utah and qualified to teach at the Academy, I eventually became ber boss." On leaving college Mr. Palmer became soil chemist and irrigation inspector for the Canadian Pacific Railway. One project be was assigned was to determine the suitability for Irrigation of a block of company land at Tilley, Alberta, which federal government officials declared unfit for irrigation. Mr. Palmer's investigations convinced him that the soil was satisfactory and he recommended that the block be irrigated. The area was developed and is now a successful unit of the Eastern Irrigation District. While he retained his position as a consultant with the CPR, in 1918-19 Mr. Palmer served as instructor in science and vocational agriculture at the Knight Academy, then as principal from 1919 to 1921. The Knight Academy, a Mormon institution, was at that time known throughout the province for its advanced education, Mr. Palmer explained. "While we followed the government curriculum," he said, "we operated along the lines of .Winston Churchill High School in Lethbridge insofar as policies of discipline were concerned. Long before it became popular for students to have a voice in curricula and policymaking, students at the Academy were given the right to express their opinion in such matters. ? ? ? "It was purely a pioneering venture that was well controlled," Mrs. Palmer explained, "we certainly didn't have riots or demonstrations, yet 6tudent activity was encouraged and respected." "The whole lock step, militaristic public school program was much too rigid at one time," Mr. Palmer observed, "however I believe it is far too permissive now in both schools and universities. Students are too aggressive in their demands and have moved too far to the left; throughout the course of history, experience should teach us that change comes about rapidly enough without stimulating it. Society, to our cost, is realizing that too permissive an attitude in dealing with the educational processes does not necessarily produce desirable results. In both the United States and Canada the student population has shown that 80 per cent of them are able to handle unrest and disillusionment; unfortunately 20 per cent cannot and a kind of guerrilla warfare develops. The Establishment crumbles and nobody wins." In 1921, Mr. Palmer was appointed assistant superintendent of the Lethbridge Experimental Station, under Dr. W. H. Fairfield. ASAEL AND MAYDELL PALMER "In 1921 agriculture was still in a pretty undeveloped stage on the Prairies," Mr. Palmer recalled. "When we first moved here the population was scarce, and the road from Lethbridge to Coutts (the old Fort Benton Trail) was merely a trail. Irrigation was just starting and no one knew much about it. Every farmer had his own methods of fanning and if he didn't succeed he left. Very little was known about dry land farming and what summer fallowing was done wasn't suc-cesful because it was done in the wrong way, causing soil drifting." ? ? ? Mr. Palmer was the third man engaged at the Agricultural Station with an agriculture degree. "Today I supect there are perhaps 75 or 100. I think this is a commentary on how agriculture has grown and progressed in 50 years." At one time, Mr. Palmer noted, there was little hope held for any agricultur a 1 achievements in the section of the prairies known as the Pall-iser Triangle. "Captain John Palliser was sent out here by the British government to see what possibilities existed in the west for agricultural expansion. All he saw of course were miles and miles of dry land, with occasional sections of reddish soil which drifted . like sand. He was unimpresed and turned in a very negative report. It took a long time and a lot of hard work to prove him wrong, but this has been accomplished." It wasn't any easy task converting a veritable desert into one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. "The farmers in the 20s and 30s were faced with one discouraging factor after another," he reminisced, "the soil drifted so badly that it was impossible to drive a car down a road without running into heavy soil drifts that built up in the ditches and on the roads. Sometimes the visibility conditions were so bad motorists couldn't see more than a few feet ahead even with headlights on. Obviously something had to be done to stop the soil from drifting. There was a concentrated effort to hold the soil with extensive tree - planting programs. This was a small help. Unfortunately the situation was worsened by long years of drought when about the only thing that survived were the grasshoppers. They were a devastation, swooping over standing crops in great thick clouds and reducing them to nothing in a matter of minutes. Between the drifting and the grasshoppers, famiGes were forced to move north to get away from the wind and the plagues of insects. At times it looked as if all of southern Alberta was going to blow completely away." Undiscouraged by set-backs Inflicted by natural forces, Mr. Palmer and the experimental station staff continued their probing to stop the soil from drifting. In his fine book, "Men Against The Desert" James Gray noted Canadian author and historian writes, "Asael Palmer, assistant superintendent at the Lethbridge Experimental Station knew more about soil drifting than any other Canadian - His interest in the control of wind erosion was aroused by a local Chamber of Commerce meeting on soil blowing in 1918. Until then his special concern had been irrigation and its problems. He set out to inform himself on wind erosion only to discover the literature on the subject was sparse to the point of nonexistence. And wherever h i s journeys took him he took special notice of the action of the top soil in the ever - present winds from the west." Mr. Palmer entertained a private conviction that plowless fallowing was an excellent way of preventing soil drifting. However, one farmer had already adopted this method only to find that the soil was blowing so badly it was almost drifted away. In demonstrating his problem to Mr. Palmer, the farmer indicated that he had burned off the stubble before summer fallowing but had missed the part where it was not blowing. The solution then, to hold the soil was to leave the stubble on the fields unburned, or allowing weeds and thistles to grow at random. "We called it trash cover farming," Mr. Palmer explained, "it seemed an obvious and simple solution and we wondered why we hadn't seen it before. Once we were convinced of its efficiency we began a crusade which took me' to various experimental stations and sub - stations across Canada to set up control programs. I also went to Ottawa where I was asked to write a pamphlet on my recommenda- Book Revieiv. tions for drifting control. This has been widely used throughout the world. Apparently the problems of conservation we have in the Chinook wind area of southern Alberta are repeated in many parts of the world." Mr. Palmer has also written many bulletins for the Department of Agriculture on irrigation, dry farming, toxicity of sales in Alberta soils, and many others. In 1968 he had published a paperback book entitled "When the Winds Came," which tells the story of how the battle against soil drifting was won on the Canadian Prairies. In 1927 Mr. Palmer received his Master of Science degree at the University of Alberta. In 1945, upon retirement of Dr. Fairfield, he succeeded him as superintendent of the Lethbridge Experimental Station until his retirement in 1953. In the years the Palmers lived in the Lethbridge area considerable changes were taking place. "It grew from a mining town to a farming - industrial city," Mrs. Palmer said. "Like many centres this size, we were very busy developing our schools, hospitals, churches and other facilities which lead to a well - rounded life. With our children we were very involved in many activities. Our first commitment was to the church with which we have always been deeply involved. For many years I taught drama, theology, and literature to the women's organizations in the church as well as the various youth groups. I am still teaching literature in the Relief Society and thoroughly enjoy it - tins kind of relationship with women of all age groups is stimulating, and for women who have raised their families this kind of activity keeps tbem mentally alert. While I was busy with this challenge, my husband was President of the Troubled Area War and Peace in Soutb-East Asia by Peter Lyon (Oxford paperback, 244p, $2.95). ANYONE interested in the background to the troubled area of the world known as South-East Asia would find this a useful reference book. Most of the book is historical and analytical with some discussion of the ways of war and the possible ways to peace. The first 160 pages review the domination of the area by the Chinese, the French and the Japanese; the history of the ten states; the interests and involvement of other nations; the alliances and alignments. The remainder of the book deals with the political questions of neutralism, war and peace. While the book does not presume to be part of the great debate about the U.S. presence in South-East Asia, that subject can scarcely be avoided. Several observations by the author indicate that he is dubious about the U.S. case for being there. For instance, in the discussion of neutralism he notes that U.S. leaders have been suspicious of this stance failing to recognize that it is often just another name for nationalism. This is a well-organized and clearly written book. A pre-second World War map with names such as Siam marked on and a post-war one with current names would have been very useful to the reader who is not as well versed in geography as he might be. DOUG WALKER. Pholo by Bryan Wilson Lethbridge Slake for many years until his retirement in 1947. Since that time he has been a member of the Stake High Council, a group of 12 men who advise and assist the Stake Presidency." Mrs. Palmer was also a charter member of the University Women's Club and served for a number of years as provincial director. In 1953 Mr. Palmer retired as Superintendent of the Lethbridge Experimental stati o n but unlike most people who seek a life of relaxation and ease when they retire, Mr. Palmer accepted instead a position in Pakistan with the Colombo plan as agricultural director of an experimental station there. For two years the Palmers worked with the Pakistanian government in improving and upgrading agricultural programs. "The people in most of these under-developed countries suffer from the lack of efficient government," Mr. Palmer explained, "whether it is Pakistan, Africa or Indonesia. I believe the colonial governments withdrew too quickly, leaving chaos and dissent in their wake. Almost immediate 1 y, quarrels and revolutions broke out between political and racial groups, and these in some countries seem never to be resolved, but drag on and on. Even in the case of the American revolution I cannot help but ask, was it necessary? Would North America not have been better off today if it had never taken place? This is highly theoretical but it stands examination. Of course, America was not in the same position as the other colonies, and benefited from all the centuries of British leadership and experience." ? ? ? What do the Palmers think of present times? "Neither of us understand the protest and violence in schools and universities," Mrs. Palmer said. "There seems to be a nefarious scheme to demoralize our youth, and we can't help but think it must be organized by employed agitators. The moral climate of our society too must be called into question." Mr. and Mrs. Palmer have two sons and two daughters, 16 grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. "All our children have gone to university, and the older grandchildren of university age are all in various stages of earning their degrees too." Mrs. Palmer said, "you mustn't mind if we brag, but two of our grandsons have earned Woodrow Wilson Fellowships. We're very proud of our family." In consideration of the contribution Mr. Palmer has made to the scientific development of agriculture in Alberta, the University of Lethbridge will confer on him the degree of LL.D. (honoris causa) at its convocation May 30, 1970. Focus on the L Jniversity By J. W. FISHBOURNE And Now Let It Work A RECENTLY ended One Prairie Prov-ince Conference came to no conclusions and made no recommendations about western Canada's political boundaries. It wasn't expected to, because it wasn't that kind of a conference. Those who planned the enquiry made it clear from the start that they were not seriously looking for any specific answer to the question of whether there should be one or three - or some other number - provinces on the Prairies. Rather, they intended that there would be an outpouring of ideas about constitutional and other questions of particular interest to western Canadians, the central question serving primarily to ensure a focus on problems and considerations of special interest of those of us who live on the Prairies. The absence of specific conclusions notwithstanding, I believe the conference accomplished something important. If, nothing else, it reminded us that our internal political boundaries are lines on maps that we drew ourselves, and are not necessarily sacred. It reminded us, too, that there are alternatives to the present set-up, any ono of which is possible, if a sufficient number of people want it badly enough. Our having looked at some of these alternatives may turn out to be quite important. As an illustration of how one's thinking can change, when a new idea is presented, I might mention the notion put forward by Mayor Buckwold oE Saskatoon. He thought a sensible arrangement might be a single local government for a large centre of population plus the rural areas surrounding it up to a radius of 100 miles. This idea got very little attention when it was presented, but the more one thinks about it the more sense it makes. People, both rural and urban, within an area like that have a number of things in common. One of the most important is communication; they all read the same daily newspaper and listen to the same TV and radio program. They all use the same air terminal, and the trend seems to be that they will soon have the same rail and bus terminals, too. For all of them virtually all commercial shipping, travels the same route, and they have a common shopping area except for a diminishing proportion o! day-to-day necessities. They share the same cultural and recreational opportunities. For these and many other reasons, people in these regional areas tend to Identify together, except of course for purely local issues. While north and south Lethbridge-ltes may not see eye to eye on everything, and I am sure that Claresholm and Nanton people can find things to argue about, they have a lot more' in common with each other than they have with - say - Lloyd-minster or Athabasca. Anyone within a hundred miles of Lethbridge knows about and is interested in irrigation; generally, they couldn't care less about lumbering and wood pulp. But people living in and around Hinton scarcely are aware that there is such a thing as irrigation while wood pulp is big and vital to them. Whether this particular idea has any real merit or not isn't the point; the important thing is that a new idea was advanced at all. Perhaps nothing will ever come of it, but one never knows who might take it up, improve it, adjust it, and finally produce something workable. To me, that is the whole point of a conference like this one. The papers presented, the questions and answers, and a great deal of informal discussion provided the opportunity for new ideas to be presented to the very people most able to do something about them, serious and thoughtful men and women, for the most part experts in their particular fields. All of these new ideas will be taken away, to be carefully considered at a later date. They will all be critically examined, thought about and discussed. The impractical ones probably will just disappear, but the more worthy ideas won't. They will surface again, although there is no way of telling when, where, or in how modified a form. One thing can be predicted, however, with a considerable degree of confidence, and that is that some changes will come about because of this conference. Any time two or three hundred intelligent men and women are given the opportunity to confer together, in an atmosphere that encourages the generation of new thoughts and Ideas, something is bound to happen. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Jesus And Money "pHE Ford Foundation used to occupy an estate in Pasadena which was popularly known as "Itching Palms." Others defined it as a large body of money completely surrounded by people who wanted some. It is said that if a man runs after money, he's money mad; if he keeps it, he's a capitalist; if he spends it, he's a playboy; if he doesn't get it, he lacks ambition; if he inherits it, he's a parasite; if he accumulates it from a life-time of hard work, he never got any fun out oE life. Paul warned Timothy that the love of money is the root of all evil. This must be the most misquoted text in the Bible. Not money, but the love of it is the root of all evil. Many wise men have said the same thing. Democritus said that "love of money is the metropolis of evils." Philo said that "love oE money is the source from which all evil comes." "Love of money," said Phoculides, "is the mother of all evils." Money is not bad in itself, but it carries the danger that a man comes to love it. Many a man has been generous beEore ho became wealthy, but when he gets rich he became stingy. Men try to find security in money. In the excavation of the city of Pompeii, buried in lava from Mt. Vesu� vius, the first body discovered was a skeleton with the bones of his hands still clutching gold coins. The Romans used to say that wealth was like sea water. The desire was insatiable and the more a man drank the more he wanted to drink. Some men have held money in contempt. "I have no time to waste in making money," the great naturalist and geologist, Louis Agassiz, declared. Thoreau's attitude more closely resembles that of Jesus. He saw a need for it, but he saw the danger of being attached to it. "To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle," ho said. "The cost of a tiling is the amount of what I call life, which is required to be exchanged for it immediately or in the long run." The first rule Jesus laid down was that the service of God was of supreme importance. "You cannot serve God and Mammon." Jesus had a way of speaking of Mammon which personified it. Jesus feared men could become slaves of money, worship it the way most people in our society do today. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth," he urged tha disciples. There was no permanency in these things. Moth, rust, and thieves got at them. Life should be built on values and possessions independent of the chances and changes of fortune. "There are no pockets in a shroud," says a wise Spanish proverb. When he commanded the rich young man to sell all that he had and give to the poor, obviously Jesus saw two things. First the young man's attachment to riches and, secondly, his lack of sympathy. Thus the second rule Jesus laid down was that the rich have a responsibility to look for human need. There is no suggestion that Dives hurt Lazarus. He didn't help him because he didn't really see him. A man must accept all his possessions as a trust and use them to help humanity. Jesus, in the third place, demanded economic justice. He bitterly reproached the Pharisees who "devorued widows" houses and for a pretence made long prayers." Jesus felt a profound sympathy with the poor and outcast of society. He had nothing but contempt for the rich and powerful who neglected "the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith." Jesus, however, had no sense of worldly rejection. Mammon was to be mastered, made to minister to mankind. As Sockman says, it called for a man's athleticism, not his asceticism. Jesus prayed, not that his disciples be taken out of the world, but that they be kept from evil. "Beware of covetousness," he warned them. Paul held that covetousness was idolatry. The teaching of Jesus regarding wealth is not that wealth is a sin, but that it is a great responsibility. A poor man may be covetous and a sinner, therefore. A rich man may be generous and a good man therefore. The spirit is the important thing. Eternal life is the soul's supreme quest. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Passing The Preacher By Doug Walker A PERENNIAL problem for parishioners is that of what to say when passing the preacher on the way out of church. Something besides "good morning" seems in order. Somewhere along the line a tradition has grown up of providing the preacher with a sort of evaluation of his sermon. The standard procedure is to attempt to be appreciative. Only rarely are the adverse comments made directly at the door of the church. The best after-sermon comment directed my way was made by an elderly gentleman. When he came by, he peered over his glasses at me and said, "nice try!"