October 5th…“DURING YOUR YOUNG DAYS, IN MINNESOTA, HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH THE BOREDOM OF MOWING THE LARGE LAWNS ON YOUR FARM?”
The cautious congregation of crafty crows clustered at the tree tops of our farm’s windbreak each morning. It was as if they were CAW, CAW, CALLING Dad to start another day of working in our farm’s fields. Sure enough, after consuming one of Mom’s delicious farmer breakfasts, Dad’s striped bib overalls flashed out of the back porch screen door and made a beeline towards our Farmall “Super M” tractor. After reaching his steel steed, our father climbed aboard his red-painted powerhouse and swung his leg up and over the spring-loaded seat. It was almost as if he were a cowboy, from olden days, swinging his lanky frame over a leather saddle and getting ready to ride his horse. The difference this day, was that, unlike the cowboy with only one horse…….our dad had 44 horses (of power) under the hood of that smooth-running engine. A slight pull to the choke and a foot push to the starter and that ruby red Farmall engine popped to life and away Dad headed for that day’s work in our fields.
Ever since I was knee high to a burp, I had fallen in love with tractors. Whether it was Farmalls (like Dad’s), John Deere, Case, Massey-Harris……you name it, I’d climb on it and hope for a ride. Entranced I was, with the power and sound of those engines and the giant chevron treads of the massive tires as they churned their way through our fields. Matter of fact, in the ignorant innocence of being a toddler, my love for tractors almost got me killed one day.
Our mother, Clarice, told of a time when tiny toddler me heard our father coming back into the farmyard from one of our fields. My itty bitty legs started running towards the sound of that Farmall, totally oblivious to the danger of getting crushed to death if Dad didn’t see my small frame coming his way to greet him. Mom shared that she went screaming towards Dad’s tractor with her arms waving and pointing to my minuscule body in front of his mighty machine. She saved my life, I’m sure, that day, as a slam on those tractor’s double brake pedals brought pending death to a fast halt.
Farm life and boyhood moved along methodically to the point where I was now old enough to mow lawn for the family, but still a bit too young for any major tractor/implement driving in the fields. Happily, I’d learned to drive all our tractors around the farmyard and could do minor chores with these machine marvels. It’s just that I hadn’t had the experience of working the more intricate machinery in the fields, yet. I’d seen and enjoyed riding aboard the tractor with Dad many times, over the years, and was fascinated by every operation he could perform, such as mowing, raking and baling alfalfa. I also loved to ride along to watch Dad plowing, planting crops and even combining our crop of oats.
My dilemma was this; old enough to mow lawn, but too young to run a corn Silage Chopper in the cornfield. So, to pass the time on that large lawn of our farm, I just turned on the “Imagination Station” and my mower became my own version of a fancy Silage Chopper….presto…….and I was having FUN!! As the grass shot out the side chute of the mower, I envisioned it filling up a silage wagon that we’d offload to our tall silo. Round and round that massive lawn I’d go working my own “farm” and having a pretty good time, too.
My work, as a son, was made into fun, by an imagination, on the run…………so says this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉