Farm Kids Simply Learn to Drive Earlier
My parents are coming to visit over Labor Day weekend. I took a vote with my housemates and we actually came to consensus, which is always the best way to go.
It was not a really close vote, the animals get spoiled with all the petting and holding and maybe a few extra treats when no one thinks I’m looking. And as I thought about it, it is Labor Day and from what I understand, there was no small amount of that for me to get here on that cold December day of my birth. As my mom likes to say, perhaps it should have been a warning. Snort.
I don’t know, maybe it was more Labor the day our neighbor had to call my mom to tell her I’d rammed a pitch fork through my foot playing in the hay mount with my sister and Beckie and Teresa, their daughters, each a year older than my sister and me, respectively. Their mom somehow got my rather hefty 7 year old self down out of the hay mount and wrapped my foot til my parents arrived to take me to the emergency room. My sister had screamed and lovingly(?), and maybe a little courageously, pulled the thing back out of my foot. It was a bit rusty and dirty, but nothing a little spit and duct tape wouldn’t have fixed. Actually Dr. Hartley our family physician did a few other things besides that I think.
Or maybe it was more Labor the day I was driving our old Volkswagen Beetle to the field to pick up my sister who had taken our pick-up with the diesel fuel tank to fill my dad’s tractor. I was following but didn’t make the corner and rolled that little beetle bug right over and it ended up on its side. I climbed out the window and was sitting on the door when our neighbor Elton who was working in a tractor in the field across the road came running. He tried to ask me if I was o.k. and I kept insisting he help me set the car back on its wheels so my dad wouldn’t see what I’d done. After all, I was 12 and didn’t want my driving privileges taken away. (farm kids simply learn to drive earlier for practical purposes – don’t worry dad, the statute of limitations has passed I’m almost sure). Elton refused my simple request, and in fact, I was not allowed to drive again for quite awhile.
Or maybe it was more Labor the day I had a group of girls in my car and we were following the boys’ bus out of town as they headed to a football game. We were only going to the 4 mile corner, you know, to offer them our passionate support with our waving and cheering as they prepared to play for victory. We would then turn around and head back to Almena to catch the girls bus to go to the game as well. The stupid car, of course, broke down right after we turned around. Gail Harbors, another bus driver was coming back from his after school bus route, picked us up, took us back to town, and offered to call my dad. “Oh no,” I told him, “Let’s not bother Louis right now, I’ll just call him after I get home from the game tonight. The car is broken, it’s not going anywhere.” He looked rather stern, should-a been a hint, and I waved at him as our bus pulled away. When we got back, surprisingly my dad was waiting for me already . . . let’s just say I was grounded again for quite a few weeks because “didn’t I know what could have happened chasing a boys’ bus like that? What if there’d been an accident because I was paying more attention to the cheering and the waving than the driving???” But didn’t we all think we were more responsible than anything when we were 16?!?
Yes, so maybe it’s appropriate that my parents are coming to visit on Labor Day weekend. Does the Labor of having a child really ever end? Maybe instead of them taking me out to eat, I should perhaps offer to take them to the Plaza III or Morton’s or the American Restaurant this time, instead of Wendy’s or Johnny’s. I wonder, will they trust me to drive?