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The proverbial farm kid

I kicked the proverbial stone
I walked down the proverbial lane
As I headed for the proverbial school
In the snow, sleet or rain.

Something Iíve gone through
As I started my proverbial life
I thought about what I might be doing
As I toyed with my pocketknife.

In my other pocket two stones and my taw
My favorite agate marble, a tiny rubber ball
A metal snap from ďTen SpotsĒ Bridle
In the pocket of my overalls.

I didnít want to be the proverbial farmer
Iíve seen crops lost to hail and flood
A yearís worth of sweat and toil
Turned to nothing but mud.

The worry on my parentsí faces
Iíve seen written there
A lot of disappointment
And definitely despair.

In the thirties and forties
We had a terrible drought
Drifting dust everywhere
Classes were held outside the Chelsea School house.

It began to rain
After months and months of dust
Lost part of the wheat crop
To a disease called rust.

There was
Another yearís work down the drain
Time to do it all over
And pray for rain.

To make it worse
We lost twenty market hogs
To a disease called Cholera
Things were going to the dogs.

Time to plant again
Start the thing again
Plow, disk, harrow and sow
And pray again for just the right amount of rain.  

I heard my Mom crying early one morn
She told me in a flash
The brooder house had burned in the night
Five hundred baby chicks were turned to ash.

We had forty acres of beautiful young corn
What a pretty sight, we thought
The grasshoppers by the billions wiped out all the leaves
Left nothing but the stalk.

Time to start the thing again
Time to plant again, plow, disk, harrow and sow
Shake off all your losses
Start the tractor, letís get it in the row.

Money was hard to come by
The farm had been mortgaged to the max
Made just enough to pay the interest
Not enough income to pay tax

A banker from Topeka, Kansas
With a half section of Bluegrass that he had
To plow, disk, harrow and sow
This is what he asked of my Dad

Two seasons of a great crop
Money coming in
From the fertile ground
Kept the wheat flowing into the Bin.

The third year after planting
Began the rain
The Sunflowers got taller than the wheat
Good gosh what a pain.

We lost half of the crop
I would have said goodbye
Not the way to do it
Not a time to cry.

Plow, disk, harrow and sow
A real rat race
Something I knew
I did not have the guts to face.

When I came back from the Army
I went to work at Skelly Oil
Paycheck every week
Digging ditches in the oily soil.

Dad was unhappy
He let me know
That I should be there
To plow, disk, harrow and sow.

On the farm I had worked for room and board
A few bucks on Saturday night
Now at Skelly I had a paycheck
Wow, outta sight.

A farmer I could not be
Couldnít handle the stress
If I had a bad crop,
Iíd end up in a mess.

I must say that
I did enjoy my time
Living on the farm
19 years in the dirt and grime.

Iím a better person
Didnít hurt me at all
Living those farmer days
Bare footed and in my bib overalls.

As I look back
I want to let you know
I think itís time for me
To plow, disk, harrow and sow.

Monte Manka 6-06-2008


Monte Manka can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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