Our dad was AWESOME (yes, you must sing the last word here!)! Our parents were outstanding but in completely different ways. It took the two of them to create we three monster sisters, but this story is about Dad.
Fall brings back more memories of Dad than Mom. He kept the farm rolling. He worked a full-time job in Milwaukee, at the same time carried a full-time job working our 80-acre farm. That’s a lot of working and a lot of stress. The amazing part is he always found time for us. He included us in all parts of the farm.
In Wisconsin, we had to do a chore every spring called “picking rock” – yes, we hand picked up large rocks in the fields. This had to be done before the plows could come through or they would cause major damage to the equipment. My little sister was about 4-years old when she was initiated.
We had this great little gray Massey Ferguson tractor. It was the littlest one on our farm and a perfect fit for little girls. Dad hooked up one of the flatbed trailers to the tractor, lifted us three girls up on the flatbed, and out to the fields we went.
Once in the field, Dad put the youngest (only four remember) into the driver’s seat, tied a wooden block to her gas pedal foot, put the tractor in the lowest gear and off she started. My older sister, I, and my dad then would walk the field alongside the trailer finding, picking up, and loading all the rocks about softball size and up onto the wagon. Easy right? WRONG!
The best thing our parents gave us is our sense of humor; it is also the worst. The baby sister and I were always at each other; it was our “thing.” She now had a perfect advantage. It all started out innocent enough, scooting along in the tractor. Nice and smooth, slow and steady. If we had a fairly big rock her job was to stop until we had it loaded (Yep – here it comes).
She did her job perfectly with Dad. Just as well with our eldest sister. Then there was me. First, it started out as it should, moving along, picking up and loading rocks. Then she saw me pick up a rock that was obviously very heavy and awkward for me.
She stopped the wagon.
Waited for me to get right up to it to set down the rock.
Then purposely bolted ahead so I could not set down the rock (little jerk)!
What made matters worse for me, was Dad laughing. Our older sister joined in, and I was once again the brunt of the joke. The more they laughed, the more she did it, the angrier I became – which made them all laugh harder.
(or little sisters)
Dad would eventually compose himself and reprimand baby sister – sort of. She would be good for a while, then start back up again. This became the family ritual every rock picking season. Funny how a person can get used to good-hearting ribbing, but others will call it a form of abuse. To me, it was just normal family fun farm stuff.