Folg Mikh a Gang

When Papa came to Mama with a new idea on how to make more money on the farm, “a brainstorm”, he would receive the same reply,”Folg mikh a gang.

To us boys, it meant that Mama was not for it and that Papa was talking “pie in the sky.”

Mama was a “bottom line” person and not willing to take a chance.  Papa was a gambler in business and he would have gone bankrupt much earlier if it had not been for Mama.

One time Papa persuaded Mama to go along with “a sure winner.” We did well in selling hatching eggs from our White Leghorns to Paul Kuhl’s Hatchery in Copper Hill, New Jersey.

Papa was approached to raise a flock of Rhode Island Red hens and Plymouth Barred Rock Roosters.  The cross was supposed to produce the best broilers. 

Papa’s argument was that instead of getting 20 cents a dozen over the market price for the White Leghorn eggs for hatching, the Red-Rock cross would bring a 40-cent premium.  I remember Papa throwing his hands up in the air and shouting, “We’ll be rich!”

What Papa had neglected to tell Mama was that these brown-egg, producing Rhode Island hens took longer to come into production, ate more feed and laid fewer eggs. 

There also was a problem with the Plymouth Barred Rock roosters, for they were larger and ate much more feed.

Still another negative factor was that the ratio of White Leghorn roosters to hens was 1 rooster to 15-20 hens, but the Plymouth Barred Rock roosters could service only 12-15 Rhode Island hens.  So, the Rock roosters ate more and could not service as many hens as the smaller Leghorn roosters as well as taking longer to mature.

According to Uriel Weinreich’s English-Yiddish Yiddish-English Dictionary, “Folg mikh a gang” means:

It’s a far cry
It’s quite a distance
This is no small distance
This is no small task

To Mama it meant, “It’s a bad idea—NO WAY!”

I guess Papa was very much like Sholom Aleichem’s character, Menachem-Mendel.