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How Much Per Pound Did It Cost?

My husband thinks my blogs have included too many ground-up

body parts. Maybe he’s right. What can I say? Growing up in the Texas desert had its gruesome moments. Fortunately, this will be the final bloody family story. As a young child, I found it intriguing that my mother’s brother had lost a finger. It seemed totally amazing that my dad’s brother also lost one finger. This story tells how my Uncle Toots (Clevern Miles Farnum) lost a finger while working in his own meat market.

Before joining the Navy to serve in World War II, Uncle Toots had his own meat market. An artist named Ken Holmes created the postcard featured below to advertise the market.

Apparently, Toots’ City Market stayed busy. One afternoon, in a rush to grind some beef into hamburger meat, Uncle Toots pushed the raw slab a bit too vigorously into the grinder. In a flash, the machine ate his middle finger and damaged his pointer and his ring finger.

At the end of the day, Toots laughing speculated that an unsuspecting customer had eaten some very expensive hamburger patties that evening.

Losing a finger and damaging two others did not stop Toots from becoming a jeweler after the end of World War II. His fascination with taking watches apart and putting them back together led him to a new and safer way to work in the world. Initially, Uncle Toots repaired watches in a small booth at a filling station. As word spread about his competence and honesty, the business grew and Toots move his watch business to a long counter in a downtown pharmacy. In time, his success allowed Toots and his wife, Mary to open Farnum’s Jewelry on Main Street in Pecos, Texas.

The 1938 experience with expensive hamburger meat never interfered with Toots’ success as a jeweler. I imagine he made much more money “per pound” selling rings and watches than he did when selling his most expensive and personalized hamburger meat.


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