August 27th……..“TELL US, GRANDPA, ABOUT THE KINDNESS OF A VISITOR WHO CAME TO YOUR FARM, OCCASIONALLY, TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOUR FATHER”.
There it flew, off the heights of Ozmun’s hill!!! It was a falcon. Living up to its reputation, it flew so fast and so close to the ground that it caused horizontal curlicues of dust to spiral into the sultry Minnesota summer air behind it. The only thing was, this wasn’t a bird, it was a super-charged Ford Falcon and its driver was making a beeline for the raised berm of the “Central & Northwest” railroad crossing just south of our farm.
Deathwish or not, at that same, tension-building moment, there came the ground-rumbling feel and sound of a mighty locomotive of the “Central & Northwest Railway” approaching from the west and coming to make its lumbering crossing of that same spot. What could have been a disastrous intersecting of car and train was adeptly avoided as said Falcon had the upper hand and shot up the incline of that gravel road berm; literally flying across and “catching air” as it catapulted across the railroad tracks to the other side. Those Falcon winds buffeted me in its passing while I stood near the bridge over Brush Creek. To me, even though I was now cloaked in gravel dust, it had been a win/win moment. Win number one was…the Falcon survived and continued in his “flight” to the north past our farm a half mile away. Win number two……this little Norwegian “Indian Chief” still had time to get a wave back from the locomotive engineer as he saw the danger pass and poured more power to his iron juggernaut that continued pulling a hefty string of freight and grain cars to the east and our dear hometown of Kiester.
The reason I was able to capture that Falcon and train moment was because Brush Creek was my little boy’s home away from home. Our farm’s south pasture land was bordered by the creek line. No time-clock could ever track the untold number of hours I enjoyed along that narrow, miniature river that ambled sweetly along, eventually joining the immense Mississippi River to the far east. It was in this blissful, farmboy Shangri-La that my bib-overall boy being could lay on the creek banks for a nap, hunt for schools of tadpoles to take home in a jar or test my fast reflexes to catch those speedy crawdads lurking in the shadowy depths of the creek. Matter of fact, on some of those ultra-humid and hot summer days, I’d even strip naked and skinny-dip in the hidden bends of that languorous waterway that fueled a little farmboy’s imagination.
There was a essence of purity to the quiet that held reign across the country miles in those farming days of long ago. Other than our blessed bovines lowing to one another in our pasture next to me, my little boy ears could only detect the distant “johnny-popper” sound of Louie Heitzeg’s John Deere 730 as he cultivated some soybeans to the east of me. As a result of that quaint quietness, I heard and could see that our farm was about to get a visit in the form of a handsome old Chevrolet cattle truck that was now shifting down its gears to make the turn into our north U-shaped driveway.
Ohhhh boyyy!!! I had a hankerin’ that I knew who this man was and didn’t wanna miss out on what was going to happen back at the farm. Jumpin’ aboard my trusty little 20″ bicycle, I began to pedal furiously in our farm’s direction. Sure enough, as I banked my bike into the south driveway, I realized that it was that super-nice gentleman who our farmer father employed from time to time to haul cows or hogs to auction. My little sister, Candi, had the same inclination that I did that fun day and appeared from the house as I rolled up on the scene. “Well, well, you two youngsters look familiar”!!, said our farm guest as he popped open the driver’s door and off his truck’s bench seat. “And you’ve both gotten taller, too”!!!, which brought a growing-up smile from the both of us. “When I get some cows loaded for your dad, we’ll celebrate with some gum, o.k.”?? inquired our kind visitor. We kiddos were salivating already! 😉
With his big old Chevy box-truck backed up to our loading ramp, our dad and this trucker man had his animals mooing onboard and ready for their trip to market.
Wiping his brow, the trucker said, “Whew!!!, now that that’s accomplished, how’s about you two and I celebrate with at least a couple sticks of gum”?? Candi and myself employed our parent-taught manners and said a number of “Thank You So Much” offerings to our benefactor who gave us our choice of at least two sticks of either “Teaberry”, “Black Jack” (licorice), “Beeman’s” (pepsin), or “Clove” chewing gum. If only I could remember the name of this sweet soul of a man who made our day a chewing ambrosia for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.