One of my richest memories hales from the hayfield and involves cold drinks. We filled quart jars with ice cubes and tea, water, Kool-Aid, or lemonade when Dad and anyone helping him were out working. My bro was six and I was eight.
We decided to take Dad and our uncle a beer instead of the usual fare. We grabbed a bottle each and began our trek.
We were already in the lane. One of us came up with the thought they wouldn’t have an opener out there, so we jaunted back to the house and flicked off the caps. Oops. Beer foams. We sipped.
Halfway into the pasture, new dam and the hay field meadow in the distance, we realized the bottles were half empty. We hustled all the way back to the stock tank in the corral and filled the bottles with water.
Dad was on the haystack. My uncle took a swig. He slung down the bottle.
My favorite uncle spanked me. Then without a word, he turned his back and climbed on the tractor.
Tractors and other farm machinery break down. Common occurrences, they were often temporarily “fixed” with baling wire and curses rather than prayers.
If rain was eminent, a wrench, screwdriver, or even a hammer were dropped and left to lie forlorn in the dirt and weeds. That tool was a forgotten prize if found before it rusted after the skies opened up and turned the earth to mud.
Whenever I hear the putt-putt-purr of a John Deere tractor, I fly back home in my thoughts. Dad owned a B John Deere that he drove into the new dam one day, for no apparent reason. One of my brothers stood on the draw bar behind Dad’s seat at the time.
The story goes Dad just let it out of gear and they rolled down the hill, to see what would happen. The tractor got stuck. They waited for the dam to dry up a bit before Dad was able to pull it out.
So in his own careless way, Dad dangerously played, too, in between the drudgery of hard summer work on the farm.
If you’d like to share a childhood antic, I’ll love to hear it.