March 17th…“DESCRIBE A PEACEFUL MOMENT ON YOUR FARM IN MINNESOTA DAYS.”
The staccato, puttering exhaust of Dad’s milking parlor system sent out gentle reverberations into the Minnesota Summer’s evening. Cows in their stanchions, within the barn, were peacefully masticating their supper of green corn silage from our tall storage silo that stood as a sentinel against the evening sky. Their bovine beast feast was augmented by some scoops of grain and they even received a “dessert” of a tasty vitamin-type meal powder as it was topped on each portion pile in front of their stanchions along the manger wall. Our Holsteins seemed to relish their “dessert” just like us humans love chocolate syrup drizzled over ice cream.
As was common across the fertile farmlands of our area, a brisk Summer wind coursed through the barn and sought a way of escape to the other side of this bovine refuge. Dutch-styled “half doors” populated the various entries to our cow palace and, on these pleasant evenings, I enjoyed swinging open the upper door on the east side of our barn to gaze out over the farm fields to our east and enjoy the innocent meditation of a little farm boy. From the western horizon behind me, golden rays of evening sun blanketed the corn and soybean fields with a rich spectra of amber light that imbued the foliage with luxurious worth as the happy winds made those crops come alive with dancing undulations.
Enfolded into this mixture of pastoral peacefulness was a song that was playing from Dad’s old barn radio. That dust-encrusted implement of music, located in the center of our barn, was broadcasting every time we were milking the cows. True, it was a form of entertainment for us farmers, but Dad also maintained that the music tended to relax the cows, too, allowing them to “let down” more milk that we could sell at the local Creamery. On this particular evening, there was a lilting tune that emanated from the radio perched above our Holstein’s heads.
This special song was from Japan and sung in Japanese by the singer Kyu Sakamoto. The song was called, “Sukiyaki” (which is actually a Japanese meal of sliced meat fried rapidly with vegetables). An American radio announcer, who first heard the song, couldn’t pronounce the real name, so he tagged it with the only word he could think of in Japanese. As history shares, this song became a Top Ten Hit that year, and its popularity swept the nation.
I rested my elbows over the ridge of that Dutch door, lost in thought as I gazed over those fields. Fragrant gusts of wind funneled through that venturi point past me and into the barn. My blonde hair, tousled by that wind, coupled with the magic of that song, gave an overall peaceful bliss to a serene moment for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.