Life on the farm was usually good. There was a lot of hard work to do and sometimes it seemed like we labored from sunup till sundown. We played a lot too. I had really good parents who loved us and were stable…just wanting to teach us how to work. My dad was the kind of guy who would put you to work if you were standing around. We did everything from hoe weeds in the bean fields to bale hay to working ground. I started driving a tractor when I was around ten years old.
Sometimes we would spend all day in the fields which I think was very good for us. I’m glad I got to be part of a working family. I think that’s where I got my work ethic and I’ve handed that on to my kids and grand-kids.
Don’t misunderstand, we did a lot of playing too. Farming is seasonal and we only worked like that when it was time to plant or harvest crops. There was maintenance work that had to be done but it was relatively easy and didn’t take much time.
I remember a day when my twin brother and my next oldest brother, he is two years younger than me, were in the freshly worked field and were waiting on my dad to go home. There was a piece of machinery we called a culdipacker. It made big dirt clods into little dirt clods. We pulled it behind a disk to make the ground ready to plant. It had metal, weighted disks fit very close together and it was very heavy.
My dad had the idea of putting tires on the each end of the culdipacker so he could pull it down the road and get it from field to field and it wouldn’t damage the asphalt. The problem was, it put the weight on the top and as long as you had it hooked to a tractor or a pickup it was safe. My dad had to block the wheels and pull it over with a log chain to get it up on its wheels. When he turned it back over, everyone had to get away from it because the weight would pull it over with great force and the tongue would flip over, hit the ground and leave a big gash in the ground.
My brother Kim, who was always the one that seemed to get these things started, stood over the tongue and said, “Watch this”. He picked up the tongue, the weight was on the top of the implement and it lifted him off the ground a foot or so and gently put him back down. I said, “I can do that”.
I straddled the tongue and lifted. I must have lifted to high because my weight didn’t stop it from flipping over. I remember it flipping with such force that it sent me about forty feet through the air, landing in the freshly worked ground.
My brothers came running up laughing, I think hoping that I wasn’t hurt but enjoying the humor of the moment. I got up and brushed myself off. I don’t remember hitting the ground or flying through the air. All I remember was being lifted off the ground and then picking myself up.
Funny how life can throw you. Most of the time we just have to pick ourselves up and go again. You have to make a quality decision that you are going to get up one more time than you are knocked down. Life knocks everyone down. The successful people are the ones who get back up. You are not a failure until you stop trying. I thank God for the good part of that experience. I wasn’t hurt and I learned never to do that again.