Grain Harvest Memories

Last night we were invaded by a group of huge combines, and semi tractor trailers hauling grain from the nearby fields.  From a distance it looked like some sort of eerie accident, without the flashing lights.  They were scurrying around in the fields trying to get the grain harvested before it rained.

As a kid, I hated the small grain harvest time.  My brother Carey and I learned to drive the old grain truck in the field well before we should have. As soon as I could reach the pedals I was a driver.  One time I believe both of my brothers were involved in the driving part, one working the pedals and one steering.  Between the two of them they could get from point a to point b.  It was boring being in the truck, you just sat there until Mom stopped the combine and waved, then you drove to where she was, but never across the unharvested win-rowed grain.  When the old truck was full, Mom drove it to the Quonset where it was shoveled off onto the floor and then augered up into a bin.  We used to get lectures about the auger.."be careful, or that auger will tear off your arm or leg."  You used this quick trip to unload to make a sandwich, I would make my brother a catsup and butter sandwich,  mine would be butter and white sugar.  I would refill our quart jar with cold water. And off we would go again back to the field, it was usually hot, always dusty..the grain chaff in the air would make all your exposed skin sparkly and itchy.  We would sometimes throw a stick for the dog, and just wait, eating our sandwiches and sharing the water…and waiting for Mom to stop and wave.  If you had to go to the bathroom, you just went in the field.  In the evening, time would really drag, twilight would come and go, my brother Carey would often catch a nap in the truck. My brother Carey and I used to fight, we were both very strong willed children. When I was nine my baby brother Jody joined the group, we had toys for him in the truck, he was such a good kid, he always listened to me without question, unlike my brother Carey who questioned everything I said.  I tried my best to keep them both safe and occupied. You cannot play in a grain field, the stubble from the stalks of grain is brutal, one misstep and your legs are all scratched up and bloody from the upright cut off stubble. So you just waited in the truck…and waited.  Relief only came when the humidity went up enough so you could quit for the day.  Supper was right before bed usually around midnight. My Dad was always away during the week, so the farming was all up to our Mother and what little help she could get out of two or three little kids.  My Dad taught me how to drive that old grain truck, I only used one gear and learned how to time the gas and the letting out of the clutch without killing the engine. So I drove that old truck around quite a bit, sometimes with the engine roaring..but always arriving safely with my brothers to where our Mom needed us:)

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One Response to Grain Harvest Memories

  1. remrafdn says:

    I drove truck in the field before I was 10. Although nobody knew it, I was extremely near-sighted. Often I couldn’t see the combine operator wave. Then he would holler and you could hear him over the RD-4 Caterpillar crawler tractor and the No. 17 John Deere combine. He was a sergeant in the Army in WWII. Some mornings you could hear him berating the help over a mile away.