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Farm Life Chapter 4

Farm Life Chapter 4

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Published by Al
Family life on the farm amid cultural and economic change. While struggling to make the land produce life is cheapened in this environment. Death is something not discussed and sex is avoided by a modern married couple.
Family life on the farm amid cultural and economic change. While struggling to make the land produce life is cheapened in this environment. Death is something not discussed and sex is avoided by a modern married couple.

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Published by: Al on Sep 30, 2009
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10/20/2012

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Jody could see it in the mirror before he noticed thedashboard light was on. If he had been paying moreattention to his dashboard display of red, green and amberlights he would have noticed the unplanted row before thenbut it had been that kind of a morning which was stretchinginto that kind of an afternoon.Mistakes made at planting become costly at harvest,Jody heard in his mind one of those maxims he was raisedon and could see dissatisfaction on his father’s face if heknew. The dashboard diagnostic display told him exactlywhere the problem was and Jody climbed out of the bubbledown the side of the tractor and crawled under the planterto inspect. There was a long crack in one of the plastic cupsthat fed the tubes which filled the aluminum wheels thatdropped the individual seed into the chiseled trench in theground. The soil as black as tar was clinging all over theundercarriage and as he crawled out it was on him too.Cleaning himself with a rag from the toolbox his stomachquiver with every word his father seemed to be saying. “Plastic parts are always the first to break. Every foot of the unplanted row has a cash value.” Jody climbed back intothe bubble, he picked up the phone and pushed the buttonthat would dial Green‘s, the tractor dealer. “Phones workedbetter back when they were cellular. Before the war we usedto get excellent reception everywhere on the farm.” The father image in Jody’s mind chattered on. Whenthings went smoothly it was a companion voice like the radiothat could be ignored or turned down but at times like thishis critical and unloving father was extremely annoying andout of control. “The measure of a man is how he acts in acrisis.” His father was always right with his unsolicitedadvice. The phone in the tractor was dead, he had to listenclosely to even hear the buzz. Jody drove the tractor off thefield to make a call from the tractor barn. Like these newstrains of corn, the kernels are so big the equipment was
 
always getting jammed at planting time. And the harvestswere so big the silos were bursting.If he had a son like he had been a son that skipped rowwould be planted already. When he was a boy he proudlydisplayed his blistered hands from a day’s work. His sonJohn complained if he was not driven to the school bus stopat the end of the driveway. All weather annoyed him.Jody now had a choice, he fingered a screw driver, hecould clean trash from some of the chisels while he waitedfor the phone to be answered or he could relax in the airconditioned cab and admire the view.Suddenly their was a voice, Jody spoke alone in theempty cab. He was lucky enough to find the part in stock atthe dealer but the truck had a lot of stops that afternoon.The part would be in his hands sooner if the dealer’s driverdropped it off at the Co-Op where someone might be headedin Jody’s direction and could leave it with another farmer orby a certain telephone pole for Jody to pick up. A threeperson relay in a tradition going back to pioneer days whensettlers first had to accommodate themselves to greatdistances. A remnant of the timeless tradition of farmershelping each other. There might be a week of work done bytwo men or one farmer might lend another his son. Oftenthat was how parents arranged marriages back then. Heread off his GPS location and told Phil, the desk man at theCo-Op, what the plan was then waited.Winter maintenance could not cover everything, he sawthe broken part in his mind many times before that day. Inhis imagination he saw everything mechanical broken at onetime or another. Money was made in those fleeting yearsbetween when the equipment was paid off and before itbecame completely broke down and had to be replaced. Itwas nice to make money but the big planting tractor wasonly one or two more seasons from being traded in. Theymade it so that a farmer could get a better loan for an entiremachine even though only half of it needed replacing. It wasa bind.Today Jody did not know a moment of peace, “I’ll tell

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