I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the installment of "Letters" in the February issue of Norm Swender St. Croix Review, especially the part about combining.
I was born and raised on a Michigan farm, and spent many a July day riding around the field on my Dad's old Allis-Chalmers combine. The bags filled with wheat and secured by a miller's knot were, in the beginning, heavier than I was, and I struggled mightily to get them stacked around the platform. It seems you may have enjoyed this work a bit more than I did. I also had to grease the machine at the start of the day. It seemed to have dozens of grease zerks, every one of them all but inaccessible, resulting in contortions, skinned knuckles, and grease on shirt, jeans, and in the hair.
As I rode around the field I knew that this was only the beginning, because in a day or two we would be clipping the stubble, raking it into windrows and then baling it up at the first opportunity. And, yes, the "chaff flies up golden in the sun," and then down the back of my neck, it seemed.
The farm is long gone, but, like you, I often think back to those far off days, and can almost smell the wheat and the straw, and see my Dad, with his farmer's tan, guiding the tractor around the turn and into another swath of grain. Like the line from the movie ". . . How Green was my Valley then. . . ."
With best regards . . .