Summers on the farm were a far cry from summers in Los Angeles. There were no lazy days at the beach or sun tanning by the pool. Summers were the busiest times on the farm. They were hot, dirty and long. The days started at sunrise and sometimes didn't end until after sunset.
Wheat harvest brought especially long days. We were always slaves to the weather. When the wheat was ready, it was a race against time to get it harvested before the rains knocked it all flat and made it impossible to get into the fields. Once the combine dumped its load into the truck, it had to be hauled to town and stored in the huge bins at the elevator in town until you were ready to sell it. I started driving truckloads of wheat to the grain elevator when I was 14. The old farmers would lean against the pop cooler drinking grape Nehi and gossip while their loads were weighed and stored. When it was all finished, we had to rush back to the fields to be ready for the next load.
Haying season was the worst! Some of us girls would rake hay in our bikinis just to get a suntan. You could always tell because the back of our legs were still winter white while the rest of us was cherry red. Bucking bales was the worst. Since there were no boys in our family, the job of catching and stacking bales on the wagon usually fell to me. I would stand on the wagon as it moved slowly through the rows and catch the bales my dad threw up to me. Then I would stack them like bricks as high as I could before the load started to tip.
Back at the barn, I was relegated to the loft where there was no sign of a breeze and the air hung heavy with dust and dried leaves. Dad would unload the bales onto the loader and I would catch them as they came off and stack them in the loft. The alfalfa hay stuck to my sweaty skin and itched like crazy. The prairie hay sliced into my arms like thousands of tiny blades, so I had to wear long sleeves to protect myself.
If I was lucky enough to have a date on weekends, he usually showed up late having just come in from the fields himself. We would go into town and get a coke at the Giant Hamburger, cruise Main a couple of times, and head for home since we both had to get up early the next day.
I wish I could say that I missed those days, but to be honest, I much prefer lazy days at the beach and sun tanning by the pool.