Saturday, June 21, 2008

No Place for Articles

It always seemed like the hottest days of summer when my grandfather deemed that it was the day to "pick rock". This entailed a group of kids and adults in the family following the Old B and a flat-bed wagon through the recently plowed and disced fields as though in a line of enforcement. As rocks worked their way to the ground's surface from the shifting of the earth, they needed to be removed so they didn't jam the farm equipment.

With the hot sun on our backs, our eyes scanned the field back and forth, in search of non-dirt objects. We picked up rocks, throwing them onto the flatbed from a distance far enough not to have to take unnecessary steps closer to the wagon, yet not so far to have to throw so hard the rock would bounce off the wagon. We waited in anticipation for our turn to drive the tractor for that was the plum position and the day's only silver lining. Gramp always reserved the Old B for picking rock because it was reliable and could handle a heavy load of rocks, yet it didn't have the same energy, nor the prestige of the other newer tractors.


Born in Carbondale said...

Picking rocks!!! I used to do this and just like your family, we left off the "ing" often. We didn't say we were planning to spend the afternoon "picking rocks." We said we were "going to pick rock."

Wanna go pick rock?

Where's your dad?
He went to pick rock.

I wonder why that it was, and how it is that it was same in Wisconsin as in Pennsylvania...

I kind of liked doing it though. It was so mind numbingly dull and Sisyphus-like that one could enter a sort of fugue state while doing it. And no matter how hot the day was, the rocks themselves were cool to the touch on the underside. Much better than haying.

anand said...

sounds interesting.. we don't have anything back home like this.. but I am sure this would be a fond memory (or otherwise) for those who grew up on the farm..