by Jane Butterfield McLean
In the 1970s I found a small wooden cutting board on my late grandfather’s workbench at Butterfield Farm in Antrim NH. This was written in pencil:
Who wrote this?
Byron & Vera, Antrim Grange Hall, 1960s. Photo by Barry Proctor.
My grandfather, Byron G. Butterfield (1894-1971, Antrim NH), was a dairy farmer and a carpenter. He kept a small herd of Holsteins, which he had to give up in the mid-1960s when he was diagnosed with asthma. He often wrote with a flat carpenter’s pencil sharpened with a jack knife, a tool he told me I should never be without.
Who was Forrest?
Forrest Tenney, DVM (1910-1986, Antrim native), made barn calls for large animals and saw small animals at his office in Peterborough NH. He and Byron had been neighbors on West Street in Antrim in the early 1920s, which is probably why Byron called him "Forrest" instead of "Dr. Tenney." Most likely Dr. Tenney didn't have a mobile phone or 2-way radio in the 1950s-1960s, so his office left messages for him with his customers.
Dr. Tenney's story
My grandfather was the oldest of 7 farm children who were raised to be responsible and courteous. Even though the cow was "alright" and he had to leave, Byron made sure to leave a note for the vet, politely adding "Please call your office." Although not parsimonious, Byron was a very practical man. Because I knew these people and the times they lived in, I understand everything about this message except WHY? Why did my grandfather write on a little cutting board instead of a piece of paper?