March 3, 2010



Well, three weeks of the Olympics has ended. And what an ending it was. I’m not a big hockey fan. I always figured it was too prejudiced against those of us who couldn’t skate. But, although it was nothing compared to the elation I felt thirty years ago when our college kids beat the Russians, it was a wonderful game. In fact, I was so sick of the networks telling how many medals we had won, I was secretly cheering for Canada. Did I ever tell you about the girl I met at a hockey game in Estevan, when I was just out of high school? Never mind, here comes Shirley!
There…Now that my eyes have stopped watering, I can get on with my story.
Everyone is getting pretty tired of winter. We haven’t seen a bare spot of ground in five months. There has been a significant lack of sun rays to provide Vitamin D. We are getting as white as the snow. The fog hangs on every morning and even a cold east wind can’t shake it loose.
It is especially hard on farmers. They are looking at their fields and getting eager to start currying the ground. Some fields still have corn standing. I’ve always maintained “that if you can’t finish harvest by December, perhaps you have too much land.” But then, who am I. Just a simple writer.
My neighbors are anxious to be in the field. They’ve been cleaning wheat, storing fertilizer, attending seminars on seeding, harvesting, and pricing grain. And they have a hard time finding any scenario, which produces profit.
Which, by the way, reminds me of a story.
Jeff and Shane were farmers. Oh, and good farmers they were. They had big tractors with bunches of wheels or tracks. They had drills that could seed my fields in two or three rounds. Combines, that hauled more than our old trucks sat in their yards, and granaries reached up towards the heavens. Every year they added bins. It’s like a game. Whoever dies with the most wheat wins.
Anyway, during the course of their careers, they often pondered the future. And as they loved farming, they wondered if they happened to die shortly after confession if they would find farming in heaven.
Tragically, one day Shane had the big one. Oh, it was tragic. But, beings it happened on a Sunday morning shortly after confession, he shot right through the pearly gates.
For months, Jeff wondered how it had gone. Then one morning as Jeff was greasing up the tractor to head for the field, he picked his head up too quick, and banged his head. He was seeing stars, when all at once, in kind of a haze he saw Shane!
“Shane!” Jeff exclaimed. “Tell me about heaven!”
“Well,” says Shane, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”
“In heaven, the seed beds are perfect. There is not a weed to be found. The days are warm and sunny, the nights cool. The rains come gentle and often. The protein on the wheat is always around seventeen. The elevator manager has never heard of discounts and the futures prices cannot go down. You can never leave the endgate open on the grain trucks and the combines never run low on fuel. No dust clouds. No wind. The angels bring a huge dinner to the field right at twelve o’clock. There are no flying ants to bother you and no dust clouds from the combine. Everything runs right on schedule. It is, indeed, heaven!”
Jeff was elated. All those Sunday mornings in church would someday pay off.
“What’s the bad news?” Jeff questioned.
“You’re scheduled to drive truck tomorrow,” Shane replied.