Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International
By Kevin Cernek
June 23, 2019
This is the first week of summer, 2019. As I write this column, it is 67 degrees outside at 4:30 in the afternoon. I say afternoon because it doesn’t get dark until about 9:30, which means we still have about five hours of sunlight left. By sunlight, I mean daylight. I haven’t seen the sun in days. We’ve barely had three days in a row without rain. I’ve yet to put my winter coat away for the summer. In fact I’m wearing it at this moment so I don’t have to turn the thermostat up on the furnace. Our furnace, by the way, kicks in just about every day to warm up the house. This seems crazy. But I am told by people who have really great memories, that this year and last year are a repeat of 1972 and ‘73, where it never stopped raining and refused to warm up. That helps some, but not much. In 1972 I was barely 13 years old and certainly wasn’t deterred by the weather.
This may not be the best summer weather-wise, but it is still good for making memories – not that I have done anything special to make memories, but every summer is a memory-maker.
Some of my most memorable summers came after I got my driver’s license. The day I got my license is forever tattooed on my brain. I got an excused absence from school for half a day to go to Darlington, Wisconsin and take my driver’s test. There were two old guys running things at the DMV and they were very intimidating, and justifiably so – they held my future in their hands. I don’t remember much about the actual exam except that the instructor held a clipboard in his lap and took notes the whole time. Oh how I wanted to see what he was writing down. (It was probably his “To-Do” list and he was just trying to intimidate me – and it worked). In the end it didn’t matter, I passed the exam.
The drive home was less than memorable. I don’t remember anything about it. But after I dropped my dad off at the house, and I was driving to school for the very first time without anyone else in the car, I remember the euphoria I felt. I was free and unencumbered. The world was at my beck and call. I could go anywhere I wanted, any time I wanted. I remember the emotion of it all like it was yesterday.
That summer, between cultivating corn, making hay, and milking cows (I realized I wasn’t quite as free as I thought), I’d steal away every chance I could. My buddies and I would meet up at a friend’s farm who had a lake out back. We’d throw off our shoes and shirts and jump in the water and simply enjoy the endless summer days. When we got tired we’d sit on the bank and relax. It was innocent fun. No responsibility, no stress, nothing to worry about except to make sure we got home in time for evening chores.
Later that summer, I was pulling a load of hay home behind the pickup. It was the last load of the day and all we had to do was unload it and we were done. As I was driving along, I was distracted by something and took my eyes off the road. When I looked back up, the truck was in the ditch with the wagon following close behind. As you might imagine, the wagon tipped over and bales went flying in every direction – as did my little brother who was riding on top of the load. Thank goodness he was alright (at least that’s what we tell him). When I told dad, he was thrilled and suggested I go up to the house. I believe his exact words were: “Just get out of here. Go!” So I went.
When I was a little older, I built up all the courage I could muster and asked my girl out on a date. Of course, when the big day finally arrived I couldn’t leave until I had completed my work for the day. I’m not exactly sure why, but in my youthful haste to leave that evening, rather than stay on the hardened surface of the driveway, I decided to take the tractor I was driving on a shortcut across the end of a muddy field. (Why go in right angles when a 45 is quicker?) Immediately, I buried the tractor up to it’s rear axles in mud. I didn’t have time to pull it out or I’d be late for my date. When I told dad what happened, he was once again thrilled and suggested I go get ready for my date. Again, I believe his exact words were: “Just get out of here. Go!” Thanks Dad. And again, I made haste and went. (Good thing, because my girl eventually became my wife).
I’ll always remember this summer as the summer that wasn’t. We went from Spring to Fall, but I guess we still have a couple months to go.
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summerand winter, day and night will never cease,” (Genesis 8:22).