by Jane Green
Special to the Farm Forum
Welcome to February! That most wonderful time of the year when winter visits us with all its renowned splendor! Maybe splendor isn’t quite the word I’m looking for. Hm?
Fun? Excitement? Unusual? Unpredictable? I don’t know how to describe the month of February. Let’s just say that so far this year, February has been different. At least it has been very different for me. And the story goes like this…
I managed to catch, without any difficulty, a good old-fashioned cold, which set me back a tad. Let’s face the whole truth of the matter. This cold was a real one that put me right down in bed.
There I was in all my glory in bed sneezing, coughing, and experiencing post nasal drip to the max. What a mess I was; a complete groaning and moaning mess. Just ask my hubby because he had to put up with me. I am not a good patient. Crabby, crabby, crabby.
For some reason I had my days turned around. I slept most of the daylight hours and then occupied myself by reading through most of the night time hours. I even ran out of new books to read, so I started rereading some of my favorite books.
In rereading my favorite books, I ran across a real treasure of a book by a South Dakota author: The Witness of Combines by Kent Meyers (University of Minnesota Press). It is truly one of my bookcase treasures. I started rereading the book and was immediately mesmerized by Meyers’ succinct use of the English language.
As I continued to reread the book, I wondered how I had forgotten about all the good stories in the book. I laughed; I cried; and I felt that I was right there with the Meyers kids on their farm experiencing their childhood adventures in the grove, picking rock, milking cows, playing with the chicks, digging tunnels, rafting on the river, etc.
Meyers’ father had died when Kent was only 16 years old leaving the family of nine children and their mother to take care of their southern Minnesota farm. It was a gut-wrenching struggle which resulted in the family finally renting out the land and selling the livestock and machinery and moving to town.
Meyers went on to college and became a professor at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. He has published numerous fiction and non-fiction stories, but his love for the land never left him. That was where his heart was and this book clearly portrays this love of the land.
I found this book full of stories about farm life as a kid very similar to my own life stories. At times, I wondered if Meyers hadn’t lived right in my very own neighborhood.
This book had been recommended to me by one of my former high school English students. I purchased the book in November of 1998 way before I had even started my Plain Jane’s Misadventures series. I know that I had read the book in its entirety, but am I ever glad that I reread it. It definitely inspired me and it reminded me of some long forgotten adventures that I enjoyed as a kid.
The best part of this whole scenario is that rereading a book is not all bad. Sad to say that this rereading of Meyers’ book would not have happened if I hadn’t been desperate for something to do. And, of course, I wouldn’t have taken the time to reread a book, if I hadn’t been confined to my bed.
So… maybe, just maybe, coming down with an old-fashioned cold in February isn’t all bad. Hm?
Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. Email her at [email protected]