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Meet the Folks - Ep. FO11 - … of Oak Springs - Orchard and Williams Mar 82

Updated on November 17, 2017
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

They prepared to delivery the ice to people's iceboxes

Three icebox models
Three icebox models

Clyde Orchard and Harvey Williams were at the Ice House

It was near the end of March 1882, and Clyde Orchard and Harvey Williams met at their Ice House south of Oak Springs to discuss the winter ice harvest.

Williams: We are about three-fourths capacity here in the Ice House at what is likely the end of the ice-harvesting season.

Orchard: Do you feel it was a successful season, for our first year?

Williams: Yes, Clyde, I do feel pretty good about it, for a first year. There were some slip-ups, of course. Literally, in a couple of cases. We learned a lot about what we need to do, and what we cannot afford to do, in terms of harvesting and getting the ice stored in here with the straw insulation. We lost some ice this year that I wouldn’t expect to lose next year, for example, just because of some mistakes. But, there weren’t a lot of those. Mostly, things went as we expected.

Orchard: Any particular things we can do better next year?

Williams: There were a couple of times we would have benefited from one more pair of hands. Weather can fluctuate so fast. Twice that I can think of the two of us just couldn’t work fast enough to get it all in before it warmed up. We didn’t lose a lot, but you asked.

Orchard: That should be pretty easy to correct next year, I would assume.

Williams: Yes, I would agree, for sure.

Harvey Williams became the Ice Man

My great-uncle was the ice man about 100 years ago, in my hometown
My great-uncle was the ice man about 100 years ago, in my hometown

Orchard and Williams back at the Store

Orchard: We ended up selling eight iceboxes with ice delivery contracts. We had hoped to sell twelve or more. Perhaps we will still sell those other four as word gets out that people actually are getting ice delivered to their home or business.

Williams: I’ve got the IceWagon ready to go next week with good signage painted on it. That should draw some attention as it moves around town, and even into the valley.

Orchard: It certainly should. We will be ready to sign up more people, when they see it and decide to get their own icebox.

Williams: I had hoped perhaps we could get to 15 this first year. Maybe we’ll make that many yet?

Orchard: Do we have enough ice to service that many?

Williams: That would be about the maximum, assuming we get no more hard frosts.

Orchard: I had ordered ten iceboxes, so we have two on hand, in reserve. Each new customer we sign up now, I’ll order one more so we continue to have two at the ready.

Williams: Sounds like a fair approach, to me. Folks should have pre-ordered, like those first eight did. I’m looking forward to those first deliveries in a week or so.

Orchard: Yes, there are six in town and two in the country. You have worked out and efficient route to serve those folks, I take it?

Williams: Yes, for those first eight I do. I can adjust it if and when we get new customers.

Orchard: Good!

Folks across the valley were happy

Farms were spread across the valley
Farms were spread across the valley

A week or so later, at Orchard’s Grocery, Mayor Joseph Cox stopped by

Orchard: Well, hello, Mayor Cox. I can’t remember the last time I saw you in here. How can I help you?

Cox: I’m just Joseph, today, Clyde, and thank you very much.

Orchard: All right then, Joseph, what can I do for you to make your trip worthwhile?

Cox: Well, my wife saw Harvey Williams out on the street with that Ice Wagon of his, and she decided we really do need an icebox, after all. Do you still have any available? That does come with delivery of ice, of course?

Orchard: Why yes, Mayor… I mean, Joseph, I do just happen to still have two here for you to choose from. Let me show you the differences. They are the same size and capacity, but this one has some added features that may interest you. And yes, we can include an ice delivery contract.

Cox: Thank you, Clyde. I don’t see that we’ll need the extra features; we’ll leave that one for someone who does want the extra features.

Orchard: All right, then, Joseph. I’ll write this one up for you, along with the ice delivery contract. We can get your icebox over to your house tomorrow afternoon, and you’ll be on Harvey’s ice delivery route next week. Will that work out well for you?

Cox: That will be just fine. My wife was concerned that you might be all out of iceboxes with deliveries having already begun? That is why she sent me right over to check.

Orchard: I anticipated this might happen, so I have tried to keep two on reserve, one just for you, as it turns out. Is there anything else I can do for you today?

Cox: No, I’m just happy that you anticipated our needs. You are a good man, Clyde.

Orchard: Just trying to be a customer-oriented businessman, Joseph. Folks in this town have really been good to us; we want to continue to provide the best service we possibly can.

Cox: Well, Clyde, all we folks in the valley really appreciate that good service. The Olsons did a fine job, too, but you’ve really stepped it up a notch or two. You seem to anticipate what our needs are before we even know what they are. I don’t know how you do it.

Orchard: We listen to our customers very carefully, Joseph. We listen for their needs, wants, and desires, not just the words they are saying. Then, we also listen closely to our suppliers, and try to match the two. I’m very glad to hear it is working well.

Cox: Thank you again, Clyde, for the good service. We’ll look forward to that icebox showing up at the house tomorrow.

Orchard: It will be there. Have a nice day!

Note from the Author

This is the eleventh episode of the short story (FOx) series, Meet the Folks | … of Oak Springs. Each episode will explore, at first hand, some folks who lived in Oak Springs c. 1880. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. These episodes are set in the early1880s time frame, following by a couple of years the 40 episodes of “The Kings of Oak Springs” stories. That series had followed the time period of the “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below. These FOx episodes provide depth and background stories for the entire "Saga" series. “The Kings of Oak Springs” Episode 41 has now resumed the stories as 1882 began.

The first 40 episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs" Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. See the link, below, to get yours.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

Video Book Trailer


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    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      They were cut from natural ice on the river. Best when the water is in a quiet 'cove' of the optimal thickness. Sawed into blocks, stored in straw in an insulated ice house, for delivery during the year.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      It's so cool that your great uncle was the town's ice man. How were the blocks of ice made, Bill?

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you so much. I seem to continue to enjoy creating the stories.... ;-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A beautiful hub. Writing for you is free flowing.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure!! Thanks for sharing that!! Very special memories... ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Reading your series is like taking a stroll down my own personal memory lane. I had forgotten about ice grandma had an old one when I was a kid. I was fascinated by it, having never seen one. I kept looking for the plug. :)