A kids’ life on a farm can be amazing! We were lucky that we had such a fantastic family with such great family and friends. When it came time to bale hay (yep all small bales only back then), plant crops, pick rock, fix fence – whatever – a load of people would show up to help. In turn, we would help them with their tasks (chicken butchering was more fun that rabbits – but that is another story). The amazing part was a large number of people that would show up to help.
My father was a cook-a-holic. He loved being in the kitchen, at a grill, where ever as long as he was the cook. The highlight of every year was our annual fall corn roast. It started out simple enough, a small thank-you-type afternoon with family to show our appreciation for everyone’s help. Soon, family extended to friends, then extended to friends of a friend. The roast went from a small charcoal cooker, closest family (Aunts uncles, cousins, etc.), drinks and a quiet evening; into a full blown whole day event!
It starts at the crack of dawn. My sisters and I get dragged out of bed just as the sun is trying to rise. We get thrown onto the back of the flat-bed wagon, which is still damp from the morning dew, and hauled out to the corn field. Thank goodness we never put away our winter mittens!
The machine corn pickers have already been through the fields. They pick up most of it, but not all, for the canning company (hee hee – I know where your canned corn comes from!). They flatten everything as they go. Now it’s our turn.
Dad drives the tractor this time (we all know now that baby sister CAN NOT drive a straight line – or is that would not?), and all of we girls jump off and start picking up the leftover cobs and throwing them onto the wagon. This goes on for about an hour or so; then it’s time to head back up to the house.
Dad pulls the tractor up next to a shiny horse tank. We help him to unload a portion of the corn. Dad has the garden hose running in the tank at the same time, then tops it all off with a ton of ice cubes (I have no clue where they all came from because our freezers could never hold that much – the mysterious Ice Fairy?).
Dad and a couple of my Uncles took an old metal drum, cut it in half (length-wise – I know you have seen these because they are on almost every farm now), and turned it into one huge grill. The coals get to the right temp and the corn, husks and all, goes on.
(This is sort of what it looked like, but no wheels or wagon. It had welded legs on the bottom to stand on)
People start to swarm in. Some have brought their own food to cook or share – several salads, hamburgers, hotdogs for the kids, sodas, beer, chips, you name it, it all starts pouring in. By now it is only about 10 a.m.
The day finally starts to kick into full gear.
· The grill is in high heat and cooking away.
· The ladies (moms mostly) are running stuff back and forth from the house to the grill.
· The kids are running amok everywhere.
· Our main job for part of the day was giving the no-horse kids rides. This was done by plopping them up in the saddle, then leading the horse around (boring, but our job – plus the kids LOVED it!!)
· The volleyball net goes up; the lawn chairs come out, and all the games begin.
Everyone eats and people are scattered everywhere. It is mostly a lawn type of activity (at least that’s where all the kids get to sit, our choice.) after all. Once Dad is sure most everyone had been fed, he checks the wagon. The last of the corn is off the wagon and in the ice tank, so it’s time to move the wagon. Now was a great time for young and old alike. Everyone piles onto the wagon in groups (can’t hold more than about 20-25, and there are over 100 bodies here now). It’s hay/wagon ride time. Dad’s favorite part!
Everyone on the wagon is having a ball, but I loved to watch dad. His face would light up when he would pop the clutch to make the wagon jump. Everybody would fall back and bust out laughing – especially dad. Our farm was very hilly. He would drive up and down the hills on purpose just to watch the riders flopping all over laughing. Then it was back up to the yard to get another group and repeat.
(We looked very much like this except for one HUGE difference – DAD ALWAYS WORE A BLACK FELT COWBOY HAT – no lame weed woven thing for him! LMAO)
(To Be Continued Next Wednesday 10-12-16.)