“The moon loves you, Dad,” said Jeep, one of my grandsons who lived in Maine and who was practically born in the seat of an old ’56 Jeep relegated to the farm. You can imagine very easily that is how Jasper got his nickname. The Jeep was an old army surplus vehicle left over from the Korean War that I was in during all of 1951. From the first, Jeep was a mover, hardly slowing down, except for cows, goats, sheep, hens and ducks, sometimes a pig as big as a mountain, at least big as your house. He roamed the whole farm and knew all its secrets, including the secret visitors that came onto the farm in the night time when most animals and people were sound asleep.
The whole thing about bum cracks and manual workers is derided only by people who don’t work hard, physically, and by younger people, thinner people. Alec didn’t care what people thought, what stuff looked like, what was falling apart or falling down as long as it did the job. It’s as much as he could do to pick himself up after bending down to fiddle with something. He picked up, pulled up what he could, when he could. He was at the stage where he had to prioritise physical effort in a very task specific way. After hours, years of hard labour, his time was spent just getting done, anything else was superfluous. It wasn’t giving up, it was getting by. Continue reading
It shone over Hayfield, South Dakota, and George Angus ran his hand through straws of Hard Red Winter Wheat. Cream colored leaves. He used his hand to shield against the sun and fixed his eyes on the old oak tree upon the hill. Then down again. Frail dryness. Like the touch of Mary’s hand. He looked at his own hands, dry but not frail. Quite sturdy. Sharp lines, trenches from a working life. He ran his palm over his scruffy wide face.