From the July 2011 magazine.

Growing Up on the Farm

It all began as a good time in a small farming community, but the good times wouldn’t last

“After bailing hay, nothing cut the dust and thirst like a cold beer. However, one was never enough.”

I grew up on a farm in the southwest corner of Minnesota. There were four of us mom, dad, my older sister and me. My parents never divorced; not one time did I see them drunk. I did see my father with a hangover once. It was a Sunday morning and we were not at church, which was a rare occurrence. Dad came down from upstairs to get a pan from the cupboard. He looked at us, and with a sheepish smile said, "I have the 24-hour flu" and back to bed he went. My parents had been to a wedding the night before. It took a while for me to figure out why he had the "24-hour flu." Yes, they drank, but were truly "normies."

The food we ate more often than not came from the garden and feedlots on our farm. We purchased the basics such as milk, butter, salt, sugar, clothes and whatever "treats" we could talk mom into buying. Trips to town were planned and always a pleasure. I attended a country school my first year with one room, one teacher, and eight grades. After that, I went to school in town until graduating in 1969. I remember walking from that country school to stand at the field's edge where Dad was working. I would ride with him to the other end where he dropped me off to walk the rest of the way home. I remember helping my mother bake in the kitchen until I was old enough to start working on the farm with my father.

-- Al S.

Orting, Washington

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