Summer’s end brings happy memories

cut hay

One of the hardest days of summer suddenly transformed into a happy memory that I hope to hold for a very long time.

For those lucky enough to have a swimming pool, closing it at the end of a fun summer is something that most would agree is just the pits.

This year, my daughter told me she would bring a few things for a simple picnic, and her family would be here to help. And because our nephew was camping with his daughter, I invited his wife and little boy, Case, to join us.

What is more fun than two little boys, dressed in matching barn boots, playing with tractors in the great outdoors?

Well, as I added winterizing chemicals to the pool and we all prepared for the dreaded job ahead, I found out. Third crop hay was ready to bale. When the kicker baler made its way across our western boundary field, two little boys parked their toy tractors and wagons and turned into happy fans on opening day … pick any sport, it doesn’t matter.


These two little fellows were fanatics for the sport of kicker baling, filled to the gills with pure joy. My hubby pulled lawn chairs over for Brooks and Case, giving them a front-row seat to the big event.

Each time a bale would kick out, flying momentarily through the air before bouncing into the wagon, their little arms went up, and squeals of glee surrounded us as our own laughter rolled. In between bales, the two boys sat as still as their excitement would allow, but the squirming and leaning amped up as they anticipated the next one.

Arms shot up as if signifying a touchdown with one second on the clock when the next bale finally flew.

“That was a good one!” they took turns shouting, both smiling from ear to ear.

“Wait, wait! Sometimes — I saw this once with my own eyes — the bale goes even higher and shoots over the wagon. That’s really great when that happens!”

Brooks, who is 3, told his slightly younger cousin. “Let’s watch for that!”


When “Farmer Rick” finished the field and headed for home, those two little old men in little boy bodies went over the events of the day as if it was a long-ago event.

“I remember once I wanted to be a pilot, you know? Now I’m pretty sure I want to be a bale-maker guy and a pilot,” Brooks confided in Case, a tiny blue-eyed boy with a flat-top hair cut and a constant smile.

“Me, too!” Case told his brown-eyed cousin.

Checking over

After Case went home to take a nap, Brooks helped with yard clean-up, carrying pool toys to storage, then picking up sticks, throwing them in his miniature wheelbarrow which had been on his wish list for a very long time.

“Do you think we ought to take the tractor out to check everything over?” his Poppy asked.

Brooks didn’t waste a second with his answer, and off they went.

I remember a song from long ago that started with “Thank heaven for little boys …” As we worked our way through the afternoon, the snippet of that old song played in my head. Counting my blessings!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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