I am back…and as the season winds down I am thinking about how much I used to love riding in the farm truck during corn chopping season. My kids love it too…
With my lunch in hand, I climb up into the old farm truck, wiping away bits and pieces of corn and stalk from the cracked and worn leather seat. I get settled into my post. Corn between the dashboard and windshield too—feels like home.
I love riding in the truck.
It’s mid morning and the fleet sets out. We are number 2 pulling out of the farm driveway. Hopefully no breakdowns to cloud the day, time is getting tight as we try to beat the hard frost.
The blue sky lies just beyond a halo of orange, brown and red. With the sun sitting lower in the sky now, everything looks different since the mid-summer harvest of hay. Fall is at it’s peak, winter is looming; summer has packed its bags and headed south.
Perhaps I like riding in the truck because it gives me a chance to notice things.
Towards the old railroad bed we go, meeting a few cars in a Saturday hurry and other trucks from nearby farms who are beginning their day of harvest too. A feeling of comradery as we pass.
Soon we come to the driveway that will take us to the neighbor’s back field. This field always tends to be a wet and muddy mess in the spring…I have heard my dad say.
As the laneway opens up, I see corn stalk nubs butting up against rows of corn that stand 10 feet tall. Soon to be chopped down.
I hear the whir of the chopper, and there, making it’s way down the row, it fills the other dump truck going steady and slow.
Grandpa’s big, weathered hand shifts down into 2nd and we creep, trying to guess where our turn is going to land near.
The truck ahead is just about full, we jump in-line so we don’t lose any time or waste any feed.
I roll the window up quick to keep the fly away silage out. The truck comes alive while it jumps into action with a bump, bump and a thump, thump, as the corn comes blasting out of the chopper’s spout.
Grandpa looks to the side in his mirror, intent as he makes eye contact with the chopper driver. I always find it intriguing to watch him keep exact pace with the chopper, never skipping a beat or faltering. It’s like a well oiled machine after operating this equipment for so many years.
As we near the end of our fill, Dad pulls in behind, ready to get into place and claim his load.
Back over the stubble we go, heavy with feed, we are careful to go slow.
“Be careful Grandpa to miss the woodchuck holes and the wet spot so that we don’t get stuck.”
And we creep on until we get to the dirt road. Whining to get up to speed, the truck engine moans with every shift up, burdened with the heavy load of corn in the back.
From my perch, I wave and smile when we pass our other farm trucks headed back to get in line.
It’s so fun to be on a mission together.
I take a look behind us, as we head down the road; a flurry of corn debris twirling in the air and falling in our wake.
The sun is warm and the air is crisp. Sweatshirt on, sweatshirt off, I just can’t decide today.
The wind is laced with the sweet pungent smell of the freshly chopped load. I ride with my arm out the window, I am quiet, just watching.
Grandpa and I, we pull into the farm driveway, and head for the bunk.
A well of happiness pools inside my chest, I am on top of the world.
With a grin from ear to ear, and a content that has never quite been so pure, I think to myself; this life is the best, riding in the farm truck.