I am from the "Quad Cities"...Moline / Rock Island IL and Davenport / Bettendorf - IA metro area....actually a small city called Silvis, IL. Anyway, the big employer has always been John Deere...though other competitors like the old International Harvester and Case had plants there too. My dad was a skilled machinist and worked for a small specialty company....non-union...Parr Instrument Company. He could have doubled his wages and had better benefits but he did not want to work in the large Deere plants. He liked the comraderie of his shop and the work. He tried Deere when he was young but just did not like it. Now most people would think you were nuts...after all Deere was Nirvana for the working man in the QC....but he said no thanks. I remember going with Mom to pick him up after work...in those days one car in the family was not unusual....we would park and wait for the shop door to open and out would come the guys with their lunch buckets...all chatting..some would light up...other moms picking their husbands up. Dad was always one of the last to leave...he took extra time to clean up his work area and make sure things were right. The one benefit of working there was that he avoided the cycle of union strikes and layoffs and long over-time hours that were common at Deere and other large union shops. I wonder if his exposore to all those cutting oils and other products coupled with his pipe smoking could have led to his cancer...he developed a lymphoma at 55 and we lost him at 57. Heck, everyone at that time probably had asbestos exposure....I bet Kinsey had it on the pipes, it was in insulation, many products. We used in it High School labs for hot objects. He never wanted us to go into his kind of work...it was going to be college for us. His old company is still there and appears to be thriving.
Happy Thanksgiving! Have a small pour of your Old Hickory.