The farm crew hung their hats on the rack next to the door and stuck their hands under the sanitizer before sitting down at the antique hand-hewn table. Six generations had sat around this table to celebrate the bounty of the harvest. Three generations, now living and working daily on the farm, continued the tradition.
Holding hands around the table to bless the food was symbolic of the family stability, which had held the Harman farming operation together in this fast paced world. As Grandpaw Harman lifted his eyes from the blessing he began to glimpse the change, which had come so slowly as to hardly be noticed.
Dinner conversation from the day’s happening at the barn included complaining about the computer glitches and environmental control systems and fixing Glitz’ PT (personal transport). Seems the boys had gotten frisky in the cool morning air and collided, with Glitz’ PT coming out on the worst end of the escapade.
Grandpa could just see them. Short little ole legs dangling as they teasingly bumped each other off course-probably happening just as they aimed for their control module.
Far cry from when he and his brothers would walk down to the barn sticking wooly boogers down one another’s neck and frolicking in the cool morning air; an easy start to a day of hard work in the hot sun.
Looking straight into Grandpaw’s eyes, Senric laid his big smooth skinned, muscular hand down over his great granddad’s bony, work worn one. “Grandpaw, today I saw the most beautiful bird. He dove down just as I pushed the button to radiate the corn seeds the trac-module had just dropped. The bird got caught with the current. I felt real bad about it, but there was just nothing I could do.”
Grandpaw sympathized; he had seen the same kind of thing happen to the birds coming up behind the planter and getting caught trying to grab a seed. One could seem indifferent though sitting at a computer and making things go and come. Senric’s sensitive heart pleased Grandpaw. Farming these days effected most folks by distancing them from nature’s plight.
The food had changed a little over the years. But it was mighty good to sit down to a harvest. Even if sitting down for this generation of boys did require a chair that was both taller and wider.
After the meal and hashing out of the day’s events the family began to break away from the table. Some left to go finish up the day’s chores and then head for rest. Others went to go to the media center or check the financials or personal reports.
Some of the boys began to head back out to make sure the systems for the animals had all functioned properly and they were comfortably fed and bedded down. When the boys grabbed their hats off the rack at the door Roloo picked up his great Uncle John’s size 7. Grandpaw caught the good joke as Roloo set it over his fist and then on top of his head, where it rode on top of his hair like a kid on a pony.
Grandpaw remained seated at the table, just wanting to hold on to the blessings of the gathering a little longer.
Absentmindedly he began to rub the table.
As the shine returned, Grandpaw began to see the reflection of last year’s family portrait, hanging on the dining room wall. Tears puddled up as he began to recognize the change brought about by the new working environment but it was still good to have the Harman boys working down on the farm.
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