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How farm kids do spring breakPosted Tuesday, March 30, 2010, at 12:47 PM
He had a spring in his step. A lilt in his voice. He talked about it for weeks. I knew he was excited.
And I knew why -- Spring Break 2010.
The name of the annual college "rite of spring" is enough to make anyone celebrate. After all, a cold hard winter, constant work and everyone is ready for warm weather and relaxation.
I kept hearing them talk on the phone. I could just tell how they were looking forward to the break, planning all his "activities," and "side trips."
I thought back to my spring breaks in 1980-something. After a long year at college we thought we deserved or at least needed time on the beach or at a ski resort. For me it was Padre Island one year, skiing in Colorado another.
I still smile when I think of the memories.
So the more I heard bits and pieces of their conversations, I imagined the exotic far-off land he was planning on taking his break. I imagined beaches, suntan oil and a warm swimming pool. After all they kept talking about "greased" and "oiled."
Then I heard something that sounded a lot like "plowed." The mother in me decided to just ignore that one.
This went on for weeks, the talk, the banter, the smile on my hubby's face. (In fact, the smile should have given it away.) But I'm slow when it comes to these things.
So I was surprised when my 21-year-old showed up here on the Friday his university let out for a week.
"What are you doing home?" I asked.
"What do you mean? it's spring break," he replied, wondering why his mother didn't want him home.
"Yeah, I know, but I overheard you and your dad talking. He sounded so excited. I just assumed you were going to Florida or Padre or somewhere," I said.
"Why on earth would Dad be excited for me to not come home and not work," he asked, looking at his mother like she had lost the last of her brain cells.
And of course he had a good point -- like I said, I'm slow to learn.
His father came in, grinning from ear to ear. And finally it hit me.
The plans, the greasing, the oiling, was all taking place on our farm, right here in exotic Napton, Missouri.
For seven wonderful days, hubby had a built-in "Mini-me." Uh, make that "Bigger than Me" to help do all the work he hadn't had time to get to yet.
And for seven days, work they did.
They greased and they oiled, they worked on machinery and made "side trips" to John Deere, to Riggins and to the auto parts store.
Of course, weather slowed some plans, including any thought of "plowing" or any real "field work" but it didn't dampen their spirits.
In fact, no beach trip or ski trip or any other kind of trip could have made either of them any happier.
As I watched all the "fun" they were having, it dawned on me how much they love what they do. How much they love farming -- and not just the fun jobs of driving tractors and combines. They love the "grunt" jobs too, the ones that actually take the majority of a farmer's time.
It also dawned on me how much differently my "farm boys" thought about work and responsibility than I did many years ago.
When I was 21 and sometimes even still, work was anything but fun. (Like housework!)
But for my boys, our 16-year-old included, "work" is their fun. It is their relaxation. No ski or beach vacation could relax them anymore than leaving their schoolwork behind and checking a cow, fixing a piece of machinery or driving a tractor.
And of course, all the "free" labor (if you don't include the grocery bill) also makes hubby very happy.
I realize now, that just like the past three years, there is no doubt that for Spring Break 2011, his senior year, our son will more than likely travel to exotic Napton to enjoy relaxation and fun (and all he can eat!) And again, his father will be happy for the extra help.
If only I could figure out a way to take "spring break" in his place.
I'm sure I'd blend right in, right? Okay, don't answer that one.
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