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Ralph the Drayman and Basic Muffins from 1933 • Family and Farming

Ralph the Drayman and Basic Muffins from 1933

Being replaced by technology or someone who is younger is difficult. Here’s an essay/poem by Lila that gives insight. Ralph and his horses transcend.

Ralph The Drayman

Ralph Townsend had big Belgian horses.

Broad, brown and smooth.

He kept them in a barn in town,

And hitched them up to a wagon.

He hauled coal for the elevator,

Freight for the railroad.

The wagon was rickety and had iron wheels.

You could hear him coming.

He always stood up with the reins in his hand

And the horses trotted along.

The end gate was never up.

You could run along behind and

Grab the edge and plop yourself

In the back and dangle your feet

As you bounced along.


He never turned around

Or said “Get off!”

You could ride if you wanted.

And I wanted to every time he went by.

It didn’t matter that I had a dress on.

I would be two or three days away from my Saturday bath,

Or the wagon box was dirty,

I hopped on.

If it was really dirty, I stood up, balancing myself like a sailor.

You could feel every bump in the road,

On your rump, or through your feet.

If you let your mouth hang loose,

You could joggle your jaw.


I lived further from town than Ralph did,

So I never got to ride very far.

But I rode when I could,

As far as I could.


And he never said, “Get off!”


Ralph was a tinsy little man,

Who stood real tall in that wagon.

He never hollered,

He only clicked to his horses,

And guided with his reins.

He never hit them.

You could tell they liked him good.

‘Cause they ran like a gentle rain,

Coming down all over town.


They never walked,

They were real happy too,

Be four-footing out in front of him.

He didn’t earn much money,

‘Cause he lived in a worn out house.

It was even worse than ours.

Of course he owned his.

We only rented,

Ours was $4 a month.


Then somebody got a truck.

And started hauling freight for the railroad.

Ralph was older.

He only hauled coal for the elevator, then.

Then he got too old to work.


By then I was too old to be riding,

In the back of a wagon with my feet

Dangling down. Big girls don’t ride in the back of wagons.

My mother didn’t say so.

I just knew because I felt funny being there. So I stopped.


One day he died.

Later, his wife sold his horses.

After she died someone tore the barn down.


But I can still see it there,

With the horses hanging their heads out the half door,

On Sunday looking towards

The back door of the house,

Wishing it was Monday.


Ralph was small.

But to his horses and me

He was tall.

Tall and gentle and good.


Thank you, Ralph.



Featured image: @R-Bac Photography via Shutterstock

Basic Muffins-1933

Basic Muffin Recipe
I added 1 Cup of frozen blueberries. You will notice these muffins have very little sugar. Makes 12 muffins.

Today’s recipe comes from the All About Home Baking from General Foods, copyright 1933. This recipe is their Basic Recipe 19 – Muffins. The book goes into great detail about how to create a muffin. If you were a child in 1933, a muffin would be a pre-curser to those breakfast pastries you see in your grocery store, full of sugar. This recipe only uses 2 Tablespoons of sugar for the entire batch of 12 muffins! You can also create add-ins. They could be jelly, honey, Splenda, nuts, bacon or whatever you choose! Those add-ins should be what your family likes. See ya breakfast junk!


Tools You’ll Need:

  • Two bowls
  • Wooden spoon
  • Fork
  • Sifter
  • Muffin tin – The original recipe calls for a cast iron muffin tin…If you have one of those you’ll need to pre-heat that before filling.


  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 2 T sugar
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten with a fork
  • 1 C milk
  • 4 T melted shortening – In 1933 that was lard

Preheat oven to 425˚. Sift all dry ingredients together. Mix all liquid ingredients together. (Cool the butter slightly before adding to egg/milk mixture to avoid lumps) Turn wet ingredients all at once into dry ingredients. Stir briskly as possible without splashing mixture. Stop after 25 seconds or until all flour is moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Over beating results in lumpy muffins. Fill 2/3rds full in a well-greased muffin pan. If there are empty sections, fill with water to avoid burning pan. Bake 25 minutes until done.

Remember, you can add anything you want to this recipe; fruit, meats, nuts and jellies.

Love to hear what you think!