Friday, May 25, 2012

"Is Carol busy?"

Harvest is starting up around home.  It's 2 to 3 weeks early, but when the wheat is ready, it's ready.

I always get a little nostalgic when harvest rolls around.  While Daddy didn't have wheat (he's a COWBOY, not a FARMER), harvest touched our lives simply because everyone was touched by harvest.  Mom started working at the elevator during harvest in 1975 or 1976.  She just worked during harvest those first couple of years.  I don't remember what I did during those first couple of years.  I might have gone to stay with Grandma, or I might have stayed at home.  I might have cooked for Dad and Steve, but I don't remember doing so. I don't remember cooking for them until we moved to town.

We moved our trailer house into town in 1977, and I know I had to cook and do chores that summer.  In fact, Mom would leave me a written list of chores that were to be done by lunch time.  An addendum she always added to the bottom of the list was this phrase:  No swimming until chores are done.  MY DONE, not yours.  And, if she came home at noon, she'd check and quite frequently, I'd have to re-do my chores before I could walk to the pool.

It was about that same time that I had to take on the job of cooking the noon meal for Dad and Steve.  There weren't any Cafe's in Big E.  Dad refused to eat sandwiches, so I had to cook.  I was 13, old enough to cook one meal a day.

I'd decide what I wanted to fix, and then I'd call Mom at the elevator to find out how to cook it.  I knew she wouldn't be able to talk to me if they were busy, so when I called, I'd ask, "Is Carol busy?  Can I talk to her?"  If she wasn't busy, she'd tell me over the phone, how to cook meatloaf, or swiss steak, or how to fry potatoes, or how to make gravy  and I'd cook it for Dad, Mom and Steve.  Sometimes, we'd run a plate up to Mom, sometimes, she'd come home.

  I remember once when I called for instruction.  Bob, the manager answered.  I hated it when Bob answered because he always sounded mean.  "Is Carol busy?" I asked.  "YES," he yelled into the phone and slammed it back into the receiver.  Scared me half to death!  A little while later, Mom called me and said that it had been a rough morning and suggested I not call back that day. Believe you me, I didn't call back that day!  Bob later apologized to me, which didn't mean much to 13 year old me, cause he'd proved how mean he was.  Once I got to know him and could understand the pressures of harvest, I understood his reaction.  ( I can now look back and realize how annoying it must have been for everyone there to have me calling every single day, multiple times!)

That summer was the first summer Mom continued working once harvest was finished.   I still was a little leery of calling when I thought Bob was in the office, but I did call, I had to!  Dread filled my heart every time he answered.  I was so scared of him.  I learned to not call as often and to only call when I really needed Mom.  I would call her for cooking instructions, and permission to go to the pool, but I'd call Grandma for other stuff.  Grandma was't as good of a cook as Mom was, so I tried to not call her with cooking questions very often!  

I can't help but remember that time every single summer.  I still hate calling Mom when she's at the elevator--during harvest.  And, she's still working harvests.  She's retired, but she still is working harvest.   I still won't call here when I think she'll be busy.  I might get yelled at and hung up on!

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