Chris's Journal - September 28, 2002

Frolicking on the Farm
Pulling closer to the tiny farmhouse I realized my childhood dream of working on a farm would come true today. Stretching out on all sides of the house were endless fields of dark green alfalfa, and wheat pushing against the wind. We were immediately greeted by Terry, the man of the house, whose face was weathered with deep creases from the bitter cold winters and seventeen hour long summer work days. His daughter and wife greeted us with the same enthusiasm, offering first coffee and refreshments before any work was to be done. Stepping into their house, I was once again reminded that a sense of home was lacking from the hotel rooms we had stayed in. The small personal decorations, smells of coffee and free-range chickens roasting in the oven all reminded me of grandma’s house from my childhood. Our first chore was closing up the side of a shed (used for storing hay) with plywood, work that involved just two of us, while the rest were forced to huddle together as the bitter prairie winds engulfed and choked them. Our poor little west coast fingers could handle only a few minutes out of their nest found inside the pockets of our Columbia jackets. Soon I was pulled away from the work to answer my cell, yet another business call. It seems impossible to have an experience on the road that isn’t interrupted by a phone call. Talking on the phone with new businesses, school groups, and rotaries makes you realize the scope of the project, but it also pulls you away from the present, which can make the flow of the day very disjointed. On tour you feel like it is impossible to reach the goals you set out for your self, there are days that you feel completely stuck in the administration of the tour. I would love to be able to focus on giving to the people we are connecting with, but there is always the pull of logistics and organizing the next event or activity.

We were whisked away to our next job in the back of Terry’s pickup truck. We were taken down a dusty, winding road that crackled underneath the tires of truck like whispering firecrackers. We past countless dilapidated buildings that leaned in every direction and looked as if they had displaced hips that prevented them from straightening. When we reached the field, we all piled out quickly and we looked on in boyish horror at the mantis looking object that was facing us. Our next act would be to slaughter the alfalfa fields, a task that seemed as ominous as the machine that we were about to mount. Today, Terry joked we would become real farmers and ride beside him while he ripped down the foot high fields.

I mounted the vehicle and sat behind Terry. It wasn’t two minutes before Erik decided that it was his turn to ride the beast. Gripping the machine like a greenback about to buck, I prepared for the worst. As Erik thrust his hand onto the throttle he forced it forward-an arm wrestler trying to slam his opponent. The swather jumped forward then span rapidly as if to a tornado had descended upon us. Finally after further instruction, he set the machine on a straight course, and neatly behind us he deposited a long gown of alfalfa. I could barely hear the instructions being shouted at Erik, but I could see Erik’s head nodding in agreement and every so often. When the tractor would veer off course I would hear their bellowing laugh over top of the roar of the blades. There banter was like father and son, and it felt like we had found home in dustbowl of Canada. Listening to their laugh, and watching over the plains I felt at peace with where the tour had taken me, out of the city and into the lives of a family that embraced us like children. Leaving the farm and Saskatoon, the highway stretches out in front of the motorhome pushing endlessly towards the horizon. Breathing out, I hope my stress is exhaled along with the nitrogen atoms that are being hurled away from my mouth. I need the gym right now! I feel the lack of sleep and exercise but the people we have met have helped me mediate my stress by providing unbelievable emotional and social support. I trust we will never stop receiving the love and kindness of strangers.

November 20, 2002
November 19, 2002
November 1, 2002
Octoer 29, 2002
October 24, 2002
October 20, 3002
October 16, 2002
October 13, 2002
September 28, 2002 (2)
September 28, 2002 (1)
September 7, 2002
September 6, 2002
August 31, 2002
October 21, 2002
October 4, 2002
September 19, 2002
September 8, 2002

Kindness Tour
photo gallery
kind companies
message board

Val's Journal
Brad's Journal
Erik's Journal
Chris's Journal