August 16th……….”DID YOU AND YOUR DOG, “SPOTTY”, HAVE QUIET TIMES TOGETHER ON YOUR FARM THERE NEAR KIESTER, MINNESOTA”??
In the vespertine gold gilding of the clouds above us, happy winds caused innumerable corn tassels to appear to be tickling the empyrean heavens themselves.
The resulting laughter of the sky above our farm translated into the laughter of myself sitting in soft grass as “Spotty” (our Parson Russell Terrier) slathered me with dog kisses as I found repose at the end of our cornfield just west of the family’s treed windbreak. Not only was I diminutive, as a little farm boy, but I was held in awe to be engulfed in the marvelous magnificence above me of the golden sky that was ebbing these final moments of another farm day in wrappings made by God.
My ever-faithful little canine companion shadowed my every move on our farm in those days. Together we enjoyed these insouciant buddy/buddy moments of quiet reflection here next to the family cornfield that reached out far towards the west end of our boundary fences.
My chores had been completed for the evening milking and, being Friday, I had no worries for educational edification until the following Monday, so all was well in our world.
Earlier that previous spring, “Old Man Winter” had finally surrendered his grip upon the land and warm, brown earth was visible once again there at our farm located on the fertile soils of south central Minnesota. I recalled my first few naked foot steps of hesitant and pin-pricking sensations after freeing my feet from winter’s boots and socks to go barefoot once again. By daily repetitions, my “Ooocheee-OUCHeee” footsteps progressed from tender feet in spring to shoe-leather-thick calloused feet of now early September.
Rising from my supine soft setting, “Spotty” and I decided to relish these last rays of ambient sunlight by enjoying a little walk into the peaceful cornfield. As my tough, bare feet shuffled through soft, ebony soils, “Spotty” was joyfully filtering scents, with his little nose to the ground, in hopes of picking up a rabbit’s trail. I couldn’t help but enjoy the parallel kissing to my cheeks by cornstalk leaves that at least were drier that “Spotty’s” kisses had been a few minutes earlier. As the waning sunlight made our quiet cornfield walk visually more challenging, I reversed our course back towards the windbreak and followed along our field road that took us back towards the barn’s staccato chatter from the milking system vacuum motor that puttered out of the barn wall exhaust pipe.
As if on orchestrated cue, the “tah-pah-kitah, tah-pah-kitah” sounds of the vacuum pump went silent. Dad had shut down the system for the night as he finished milking our dairy herd and sanitized his “Surge” milkers for the next morning’s operation. Both “Spotty” and myself were in boy heaven and covered from head to paw in good old Minnesota dirt as Dad emerged from the barn and shut off the lights. I could tell from his glancing gaze, as he and I made our way in walking towards our home, that I was destined for the bathtub that evening while Mom finished bringing a delicious supper to our table. In the “pecking order of life”, I then told “Spotty” that he was in for a bath the following day. You could just see the “no way, not ME” look he gave to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉