Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: India (02/12/09)
TITLE: The Summer of Fields
By Mary Lou Cook
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I climb down from the barn roof, jump off the fence, and head for the farm house. My great grandparents lived in the old house and farmed the land. After them, came my grandparents, when my grandpa and grandma retired from farming they moved to town. Now, my Dad and Mom farm and work the land, along with my brother and me, our parents live in the old farm house.
I walk across the porch and enter into the kitchen; behind me the screen door banged shut. My Mom, with her blonde hair pulled up off her neck, is busy slicing garden tomatoes and cucumbers onto a plate. She stopped slicing the vegetables and glared down at my bare feet with disapproval.
“India Wheat, there’s not an inch of your feet that isn’t covered in dirt. I don’t want those filthy things walking over my nice clean floors. Go wash your feet and hands; you can help me finish up with supper.” Mom said, sounding frustrated.
I’m not named after an elderly grandmother, someone’s great aunt, or my Mom’s best friend. My name came from an agriculture brochure that listed the different types of hybrid wheat. My full given name is India Wheat Fields. I can’t escape from it; it’s on my birth certificate, on my baptismal certificate, and in my school records, going clear back to kindergarten. I’m always called India Wheat, because it seems I’m always in trouble for something. As bad as my name is, my brother’s name is worse. He is sixteen, four years older than me; during the summer months he helped Dad with the farm work. I often wondered about our parents and the names they had chosen for their two children.
After washing up for supper, I start to set the plates and silverware out on the kitchen table. I hear the tractors rumble into the farm yard, glancing out the kitchen window to see the tractors’ large, black tires roll by. Out of the fridge, I grab a bottle of salad dressing and a stick of butter. When the screen door banged shut, I turn to see my brother leaning against the door jamb, taking off his work boots. He is a muscular blonde covered in a summer tan; the heavy farm work will help him prepare for high school football in the fall. In his stocking feet, he headed for the bathroom to wash up for supper. On his way by, he gave me a wink and gently tugged at my blonde braid.
“Got any ice tea in the fridge? I’m starved, what’s for supper?” my brother asked.
Mashing up the potatoes in an old bowl of grandma’s, Mom said, “Milo, the ice tea is on the counter, over by the kitchen sink. I’ll fix you a glass of tea, now go get washed up for supper. Soon as your Dad comes in to wash up, we can eat.”
Milo Fields, I guess it could be worse; Mom and Dad could have named my brother Soybean.
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