Each holiday has a distinct memory for me or something that triggers memories of that holiday. When it comes to the 4th of July, wheat harvest is the trigger of those memories. There is something special about wheat harvest that is distinctly American. I think the reason the United States has become the greatest nation is because of the fact we can provide all the food and fiber we need. Because of the bounty of food our nation produces, we have the freedom from hunger to be innovative and grow our industry. Nothing symbolizes this bounty as much as bread and the wheat used to make it.
My first memories of wheat harvest were of taking supper to Dad in the field. The warm, clean smell of wheat straw, homemade sandwiches and the prickly feel of the wheat stubble. I was (and still am) mesmerized by the sight of combines eating their way through the golden fields. Then, if I played my cards right, Dad would take me into town with the truck and its load of wheat.
For a country kid a trip to town is very special. It was a chance to see other people and I think to feel like a big shot, riding in that big grain truck. Since wheat harvest is usually around the 4th, we would pass several fireworks stands and I would stare longingly (I think Dad noticed).
We would finally get to the elevator and I can remember being so proud to be with Dad and again thinking we were big stuff. Then after we dumped our grain into the unloading pit, we would pull back across the scales. Then if we were really lucky,we would get an ice cold soda. Usually the end of harvest came about the 4th. I can remember one harvest, Dad stopped at the fireworks stand and allowed me to get some fireworks.
We hoped to be done with harvest by the 4th so we could go into our town's 4th celebration. My hometown does the 4th of July like no other place. If harvest was not done, we couldn't go, but that didn't happen very often. The fireworks were a fitting celebration to the end of harvest and our nation's birthday.
Now as I am the one driving that grain truck into the elevator and driving past the fireworks stands I still find myself getting that feeling of anticipation about the upcoming celebration. We now drive the grain down mainstreet and I get to see the decorations dedicated to the 4th and that only helps to build the excitement. So having completed wheat harvest a couple of days ago, I will continue the tradition of taking my family to the parade and fireworks, I don't know who is more excited.
Tonight I will drive into town, past the golden fields of harvested wheat to my hometown for a patriotic celebration of the birth of our great nation. Wheat harvest and the 4th are and will be forever intertwined into one. I cannot imagine a more fitting way to celebrate our great nation and all the blessing we have been given as Americans.