Sunday, June 17, 2007

Growing Up Country

On the wall in our office hangs a picture, painted by my mother. She created it around 1970 while sitting at the kitchen table of our home on the farm. The view is from the south, looking northward to the house, across the sweep of golden wheat. In the distance is the grain truck we lovingly called, "Old Blumity" and closer to the observer's eye is my father on the cab-less Massey Ferguson combine.

My mother named this painting, "Panic". For any farmer who has ever tried to get his harvest in as a thunderstorm rumbles across the prairie, this title needs no explanation. I remember being in the fields as the sky darkened and lightning flashed in the distance, watching my dad as he fervently went around and around. Though my parents never showed much outward dismay, I knew that it was always a race against the weather to get the crops in.

Sometimes I would be on the combine with Dad, but mostly I remember riding in the truck. I would usually sit next to my mother, straddling the long gear shift as we rumbled along. My preferred place to be, however, was in the bed filled with dusty wheat kernels. We would bury our toes in the rich wheat, riding beside lazy grasshoppers as we barreled into town. The sides would sway with the weight as we drove up onto the hydraulic lift at the elevator. Most of the time, that was our signal to jump out while the wheat was being dumped.

One afternoon, my father told my sister and I that we could stay in the back of the truck while the truck was lifted and the back gate opened to let the wheat slide out. What fun we had slipping and sliding, and I can still hear our laughs and screams as we held onto the faded wooden bed! We thought we were defying the odds since a sign above the lift read, "Ride at your own risk", and I'm sure that we were pushing the rules. But it's a memory that my sister and I recall over the years and smile when we think about those treasured days on the farm.

When my mother used to draw or paint she would always say: "Remember, I'm not a camera!" In those days film and developing were an expense we couldn't always afford, so there are precious few pictures of my early childhood years. But I have only to look at this painting for perfect recollection of the smell of wheat dust, sunshine on my face and the wondrous feeling of what it was like growing up country.

9 comments:

Intern said...

I dont know what to say...
- what a beautiful painting,
- what a beautiful shot of the painting
- what a beautiful story to go with the shot ...

photography will never replace paintings.and there's somethig so nostalgic about things associated with our parents ... agricuylture has always been so closely related to weather..very emotional text!

Luke said...

nice shot and great tie-in with the text, farming is always a race against the weather. great shot!

alan said...

Tears in my eyes as I catch up with the words and the photos you've shared with us while I was caught up "in the whirl".

You are truly a treasure, my friend!

Thank you for being you!

alan

Lance said...

Nice post.

Franco said...

Hi Lori!
thanks for having visited my photoblog...Yes, Europe and America are so similar and so different at the same time...
I like your blog and your pictures giving an image of America we are not so accustomed to: movies, news, music...all give a vision of one half of your country; here is the other half (and maybe the most important one!).

martie said...

A beautiful painting to go with the wonderful story you told. How lucky to have a talented mother and a loving childhood!

Hugs

Susie B. said...

That is very beautiful painting, Lori. Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for your comments.
Susie B.

srp said...

We have a picture of the old homestead in Illinois, taken from an airplane. It is priceless now as the old farmhouse is gone and only the smoke house remains. My cousin has the land and the house my grandpa built for grandma before she died. Family still farms the land and that is good.

martie said...

Stop over for a visit and see what surprise awaits you!

Hugs