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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: India (02/12/09)

TITLE: The Summer of Fields
By Mary Lou Cook
02/14/09


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Itís the end of summer; soon it will be the start of a new school year. An August day covered in unbearable heat, without a moment of breeze it made the air heavy and hard to breathe. To find relief from the continuing heat, I try to find a cool place on the shady side of the barn roof. I lay down to feel the warmth on my back from the shingled roof; I look up to see a cloudless blue sky. With the wheat cut and the harvest over, itís time to disc the fields. I stand up and use my hand to shade my eyes from the hot summer sun, across the open fields I look for our farm tractors. I see the two International Harvesters, one is driven by my Dad in the field along the side of the dirt road, on the opposite side is the other tractor driven by my older brother. Through the heat mirages, I watch the tractors slowly pull the discs through the wheat stubble, turning the field back into dark brown dirt. Overhead, a flock of seagulls fly behind the discs to quickly dive and dip down for the insects and the bugs. After the tractors leave the fields, the sea gulls will continue their dance, until all the bugs and insects are eaten.

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.

ďIndia Wheat, thereís not an inch of your feet that isnít covered in dirt. I donít want those filthy things walking over my nice clean floors. Go wash your feet and hands; you can help me finish up with supper.Ē Mom said, sounding frustrated.

Iím not named after an elderly grandmother, someoneís great aunt, or my Momís 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 canít escape from it; itís on my birth certificate, on my baptismal certificate, and in my school records, going clear back to kindergarten. Iím always called India Wheat, because it seems Iím always in trouble for something. As bad as my name is, my brotherís 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 tractorsí 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.

ďGot any ice tea in the fridge? Iím starved, whatís for supper?Ē my brother asked.

Mashing up the potatoes in an old bowl of grandmaís, Mom said, ďMilo, the ice tea is on the counter, over by the kitchen sink. Iíll 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.Ē

Milo Fields, I guess it could be worse; Mom and Dad could have named my brother Soybean.


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This article has been read 342 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/20/09
This is a pleasant and entertaining read, with a gently humorous feel.

You may have sidestepped the intention of the topic a bit by using it as a given name...

...but it was certainly a unique and refreshing entry.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/22/09
Interesting sweet story. Too bad you'll lose points for not being on topic as the theme for the quarter is Countries Around the World. Very creative writing.
Seema Bagai 02/22/09
A unique story. Light on topic, but well-written and cute.