A trip to freeze sweet corn with Da' Boss.
You can see he's a real 'hard-case', this uncle of my husband's.
You should be shaking in your shoes!
Sorry, couldn't keep that in any more.
I'd call uncle Gary a softy... but I'm not sure there's a guy out there that appreciates that title.
And I want to be invited back... so I'll try to be good.
I know, I know...
I'll let you know how that works out!
Now, there is one small matter about staying at the ranch on which I would like to elaborate.
What? What do you mean, Is-there-any-subject-on-which-you-don't-elaborate?
I'll have you to know there is a whole lot I keep to myself, like how much cake I scarfed last night after the kids went to bed, the number of blogs I lurked on and what the scale said this morning.
Anyway, about that certain matter...
We planned to stay in a tent.
I said A TENT ---
No gasps? No outrage? No outcries of sympathy.
I've heard of people who like - dare I say - love sleeping in tents. I think I may even know a few. Distantly.
Women in my immediate family do not, as in, do-not-never-will-no-no-no-can't make-me-wont-do-it-so-absolutely-do-not fall into that category. We are very poor tent-dwellers. It's something about the mugginess, the bug noises, the not being able to stand up straight to get dressed and the total lack of organization.
That said, there were two, and only two, things that made me agree to sleeping in a tent.
1.) My children begging to camp-out, reminding me of the fact that, as a child, I USED to be quite enchanted at the idea of a tent. We even did it a few times. My mom hated it. I remember one very eventful tent night that involved me waking up scared that dad had left our clothes for the church convention we were headed to hanging on a tree outside in the rain (he hadn't, a great relief to my poor fashion-ravaged teenage mind) and then waking up a short-time later screaming that 'there was something alive in our tent' --- it was---- wait for it---- MY SISTER and she was, happily, very much alive! I still swear her sleep-tousled head looked exactly like a raccoon. Maybe that was the beginning of my tent trauma.
Regardless, when it comes to my children, it doesn't matter how much I explain that the idea of a tent and the reality of a tent are two very different things. They have to figure that out for themselves.
The other thing that did it for me was this:
2.) The prospect of watching three tired humans, of the male species trying to set up a tent at two in the morning.
Put on your night-vision goggles and come along...
It was then, and only then that I got out of the vehicle.
That's the kinda girl I am.
All tent inhabitants are not created equal.
Some, like this one, wake us just as cute and cheery as ever.
Some are not so lucky.
The corn was ripe and ready, waiting for us in the field.
Things around here are progressing. The ears are now collected in the bucket of this skid-steer instead of in the shoulder satchels of yester-year.
No such luck for pickers.
They are still human.
The field was long.
They got sweaty, dew-drenched and the corn scratched every exposed piece of skin.
These pictures and commentary come from OUTSIDE the field.
Hey, I did my time. Two years of detasseling, my friends.
My children were quick to find other things to do.
They know how to run from work.
Their daddy says they got that from me.
I tell their daddy to bring me another slice of cake.
Being cute is a full-time job, don'cha know?
So is being sassy. And believe me when I say she keeps herself fully employed.
Pipster was the best picker of all. His speed and accuracy were a wonder to all who beheld it. Only his mother saw it, actually. But she thought it was a wonder all the same. That single ear of corn represented a bright and beautiful future. A future where there will always be enough hands to pick sweetcorn and I, the mother, will never have to take a step into that field to pick.
I keep plenty busy with more important things. Like holding pudgy hands in mine while we take a little walk-about.
And watching little legs taking the little boy further and further on an adventure of his own.
Maybe he's looking for snakes...
Oh! Found one!
(Close enough for my taste)
I'm needed to watch him cover himself in dust.
I need to marvel at the simple ambition of a boy in getting himself dirty.
I must stay just close enough to catch him if he falls as he climbs up, over
And back down.
If I'm lucky about that time they will be done picking and it will be time to head to the corn-shed.
The corn stalks, now relieved of their precious produce, sway gently in the breeze.
Depleted, they seem to wave goodbye.
We are quite the crew.
Aunts and Uncles
Oh, and I was there too!
----- To be continued ------
A Corn-husker in NE