From the looks of the fields, it won't be long before harvest starts. Harvest always brings back memories of riding in the combine with Dad, sitting in the tractor with Grandpa, and tagging along when Mom took supper out to the field. She always had 3 little farmers that had to have their supper out there with Dad. It was so much fun to be eating out of cake pans and sneaking sips of pop from Dad's bottle! Mom's cooking never tasted so good. With Dad retired from farming, it makes me sad that my kids won't be able to have those experiences. Those were some great family bonding times.
The bus couldn't get us home fast enough when Dad was out in the field. Before we had homework, it was straight out to the combine. Once homework hit, it had to be completed first. Dad's combine wasn't one of these new ones with the built-in buddy seat. We had to take our turn and squeeze in between Dad's seat and the door ~ just enough room for our little tushies to fit. There was a metal "shelf" that encircled his seat that not only provided a place for us to sit, it also served as a bed. I could never make it more than 2 rounds before I was lulled to sleep by the steady rhythm of the crops being harvested. Dad always kept a Pioneer Seed sweatshirt and vest stored there ~ perfect bedding! I don't ever remember being woke up and taken out of the combine, but somehow Dad managed to get me out and down the ladder so that Mom could take me home.
When it wasn't our turn in the combine, we would keep Grandpa company in the tractor. On nice days, he would let us play in the grain wagon and in the corn or beans. What fun that was! Corn and beans would mysterious find their way into our pockets, shoes, socks, and toes. Being a mother now, I know what it was like for Mom to be doing laundry only to have corn or beans spilling out from everywhere. When Dad came into sight with a load ready to dump, we would scurry like mice out and down the ladder and back into the tractor cab. One of my favorite memory of Grandpa is when he would take out his handkerchief and make me a baby-in-a-cradle. To this day, I still don't know how he did it. Grandpa's been gone for 23 years now, and I'm so thankful that I was able to spend so much time with him during harvest.
Dad retired from farming 13 years ago ~ most of the tractors have been sold as has the combine. That was a sad day when the John Deere left the yard for the last time. Thankfully we all did get one last ride with Dad as did the grandkids. A few tears were shed ~ farming was my Dad's life and it had provided a great childhood for us. Now that chapter had ended. Harvest time has never been the same out at Dad and Mom's; but the smells at this time of year, the crispness of the air, and the turning of the crops bring back childhood memories that can never be retired or sold. I wouldn't trade growing up as a farmer's daughter for any other life ~ it was the best!
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