Saturday, October 31, 2009

Memories; Children of the Corn

Hi there! If you’ve been to Drums In The Deep before, I’m very glad to have you back. If this is your first visit, welcome!

I think I said in an earlier post that I wasn’t going to bore you with long descriptions of life in the Midwest, but I’ve changed my mind. “Captain’s Prerogative” as Jean-Luc Picard would say. Being back home here in Nebraska has left me feeling kind of nostalgic so I thought I would explore that a little bit.

When I was a child, during the mid 1970’s this was, we had to be a little more creative in our entertainment than kids today. The internet was still 20 years away. Computers had already been invented, of course, but the smallest model would have been roughly the size of the house my family lived in. Heck, the Atari game system wasn’t even around yet. Also, we lived “in the country” which meant that during summer vacation we rarely, if ever, saw our friends from school. No, it was pretty much just my three siblings and me.

We had fun though, don’t get me wrong. When you live on a farm there are always things to explore and fun places to play. The thing I remember most about those long summers is the corn.

The house we grew up in was bordered closely on two sides by cornfields. In the spring and early summer Dad would always be in the field, driving his tractor up and down the long rows. Planting, cultivating, ridging, spraying: I can’t imagine the hours he must have spent out there.

Sometimes when Dad was working in the field, Mom would be in the kitchen baking chocolate-chip cookies. Dad liked them without the chips, what a weirdo. She would bake him some plain ones before adding the chocolate, put them in a container, and send me outside with them. I would stand at the edge of our yard, right where it bordered the cornfield, and wait for the tractor to pass by. When it did, I would walk out to meet it. Dad would stop the tractor and help me up into the cab so I could give him his cookies. Then he would let me sit on his lap for a while and steer the tractor. Not that there was much steering to do. I got to hold onto the wheel though, and that was pretty darn cool.

By late June or so, the tractor work would be done and there was nothing to do but watch the corn grow. Corn grows pretty fast and it also grows pretty tall. If you’ve never been up close to a cornfield you may not realize that the stalks can grow to a height of seven feet or more. To a kid of 6 or 7 years, that is an awesome height. Once the corn was over our heads, the real fun would begin.

There would be endless games of tag, or hide-and-seek out in the corn. We would trample a few stalks down here and there to make paths and mazes to play in. Until Grandpa found out, that is. He was not impressed. It’s hard for me to put into words what a magical place that was to play in. Wonderful and a little scary all at the same time. Secretive and exciting. What if we got lost out there someday and couldn’t find our way back to the yard? Being the youngest, that probably bothered me more than the older kids. But I always felt safe with my brothers and sister.

Well, the impossibly long summers always managed to end very abruptly, and then it was time to go back to school. As September faded into October, the corn would gradually ripen and begin to turn dry and brown. Then one day we would come home from school and the combine would be making its rounds, slowly gobbling up the corn.

Those golden days of late October stand out so clearly in my mind. Watching Dad drive the combine back and forth across the field, stopping occasionally to dump the picked and shelled corn into one of the trucks. And how strange to see the old trucks moving around! All year they just sat there like museum relics, and now they were moving around; lumbering dinosaur skeletons suddenly come to life!

Before we knew it, the corn was all gone and there was nothing left but empty husks and chaff blowing up into the yard. That was a little sad, but also kind of new and exciting. After being boxed in by the corn all those months, suddenly we could see for miles in every direction. Like the whole world had been opened up to us. So long corn, see you next summer.

Those were the good old days. My family was not well off, we didn’t have much in the way of material possessions, but somehow that never bothered us. We had each other and that was enough. I have a family of my own now, and how I long to give them the kind of life I had. It’s not within my means to give this to them, but you know what? We have each other, and that’s enough.

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Matthew 9:37-38 Then saith He unto His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.”


  1. It may not be within your means but it was certainly within God's means. I'm here on a farm in Nebraska by the sheer grace of God, and you honey, just happen to have come along for the ride. haha Nebraska and all its corfields surrounding me are AWESOME!
    You're the BEST!

  2. What wonderful descriptions! I used to wish I had a childhood like that. To me its only something you see in movies.

    Speaking of movies, the title made me think of a really scary 80's movie called 'Children of the corn' hahaha! I thought you were going all scary for Halloween ;)

  3. And if you remember, that story by Stephen King took place in Nebraska...think about it...

  4. Wow, would I go back to those days in a heartbeat, just for a while, to once again enjoy the simplicity of life that we took for granted! And, you were right, we did have fun, didn't we?! The memory of dad liking the cookies without the chips, I had forgotten that. I, also, preferred them that way, for a time. (Does that make me a weirdo?!?)

  5. You're not a weirdo for liking plain cookies, you're a weirdo for drinking pickle juice. It seemed like such a dull life, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.