June 5th…“ON THE FARM IN MINNESOTA, DID YOU EVER DISOBEY AN ORDER FROM YOUR FATHER? DID YOU SUFFER THE NATURAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THAT DISOBEDIENCE?”
A bitter Winter wind rocketed across our prairie farm land there on a dark and frigid evening near Kiester, Minnesota. Our father, before starting to milk our herd of Holstein cows, had loaded the manure spreader with a steaming pile of bilious bovine bowel blasts and gave me the order to take it out to the fields near our barn. “Elliott, I want you to take the H Farmall tractor and spread that manure in the old stubbled cornfield southwest of the orchard.”
“If you need to, wet your finger and hold it up to check the direction of the wind when you get out to the field. If necessary, drive the tractor and spreader to the end of the field, because you need to spread the load driving INTO the wind.”
Stinging was the glacial-feeling wind against the skin of my face as I climbed aboard the H Farmall tractor and fired up the engine. Black as the night was, I snapped the light switch to the ON position for the dual head lights and then let out the clutch as that tractor, the manure spreader and I lurched out into the frigid night. The angled lugs of the tractor’s tires crunched against the snow-encrusted lane that ran parallel to our orchard and eventually I arrived at the former corn field that Dad had described back in the warmth of the barn.
I didn’t need a wet finger to discern the direction of the wind in that darkness. It was a shrieking wind from out of the east, and was to my back, as I stopped my agricultural ensemble to decide my next step and engage the two handles for operation mode on the manure spreader. Here’s where my DISobedience came into play. I reasoned with myself (which was NOT a good idea), “Why bother going all the way to the end of the field? It’s so cold! I’ll just engage the spreader here and get this over with now, even if the wind IS to my back!”
So, with wrong decision made, I revved up the tractor engine, engaged the two handles that ran the manure spreader and launched out at a brisk pace down the field. It wasn’t long, in the darkness, that I felt something soft n gooey hit me in the back of the head. Then, I began to see brown cow chip dung flying past the tractor’s head lights. OHHH MYYY GOODNESS!!! My dad was wise AFTER ALL! With that fierce east wind to my back, the majority of that stinking load of cow poo was being blown right over the top of me by that powerful Winter wind. YIKES!!! Needless to say, I hit the brakes of that tractor, DISengaged the manure spreader levers, and then drove the remaining load of brown, bovine, bowel blasts to the far end of the old cornfield. I then turned the H and the manure spreader INTO the wind and finished spreading the load of “fertilizer” like I had been TOLD to do in the first place.
Lesson? Listen to the wisdom of your father……he’s been there, and done that, and has got the Tshirt, so to speak! Another “life lesson” for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.