Equal Opportunity

Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

I might as well confess that My sister, Debbie, is a someone who invents her own destiny. I only
recently included her in my column and previously she had felt a little
"left out". She wrote this little piece in a moment of feeling excluded.
I thought it was funny-I think you will too.
at I feel a little
left out of your column at times. Having 4 brothers with a love of farming
running thick in their blood, it's not the first time I've felt left out.

Having 4 brothers, I was also deprived of the "opportunities" of riding the
tractor endless hours. Being the eldest of the bunch, I did spend many
nights in the barn helping with milking. However, as soon as
you guys were old enough, I was relegated back to the house to help Mom with
the cooking and cleaning. I remember one particularily long summer when I
was feeling "discriminated against" because of my gender. If only I could
help with the haying, I could spend hours outside, away from the toils of
housework and also improve my
tan at the same time. Dad and Mom agreed to let me give it a try.

I donned my cutest sleeveless t-shirt and my shortest shorts and happily
trotted out to the load of alfalfa bales that needed to be loaded on the
bale elevator. Unfortunately, women at that time had no Phy-Ed class beyond
10th grade and no experience with weight lifting. The bales were
particularily dense that year and I struggled to load each one on the bale
elevator. Soon, my forearms and the fronts of my legs were bleeding and
scratched up from the bales and my arms and hands were becoming more
fatigued with each bale unloaded. I had to give up and retreat to the house
where baking cookies,
sewing on my 4-H dress for the fair, and taking care of you and Darrel now
seemed like a "piece of cake".

I do remember enjoying farming, though. When I was 9 yrs old and Dave was 6
we drove the grain truck. Dave sat on the seat and steered and I handled
the clutch, brake, gas pedal, and
shifter. Between loads, we sat on the hood and roof of the old truck and
killed grasshoppers by squeezing the "molasses" out of them with a straw
around their throats. Really quite extraordinary that we all turned out as
well as we did. I did, however, retain a love of the land and country
living. Luckily, I married someone who loves gardening as much as I do and
who tolerates my love of copious amounts of flowers. I guess that is my tie
to farming. I couldn't live without it.