Well, we made it to what could be our final stop for the 2013 harvest season. Coming back to Jordan feels like returning home! We’ve been coming here since 1981. My Grandpa & Grandma were looking for wheat to cut when we stopped here 32 years ago. Who would have known just how important this little town would become to the Z Crew!
You never know what sort of critter is going to find its way to these Montana highways at this time of the day. You have to be on your toes at all times! We were headed back to Denton after taking our first load to Jordan when we came upon this fella.
I helped Jim get the equipment moved to the field yesterday – like we have so many times this summer. Making the trek to the field created an emotion I knew would eventually make its way but I wasn’t quite ready for it yet. I had a three mile trip down that highway from the ranch to the field…just long enough!
Long enough to think about so many wonderful memories and the people who have become so important to me and my family. As I pulled into the field, I saw Irl’s truck sitting there waiting to be filled so he could make the long trip to the elevator in Moccasin. I saw Charlie O. and Jim sitting in one of Charlie’s old grain trucks solving the world’s problems. I saw the number of town people stopping by to see how the wheat was yielding. I thought of Charlie M. and his old blue pickup, big cowboy hat and gold tooth. I saw my kids – so much younger. The tears began even though I kept telling myself to “get a hold of yourself”.
I asked Jim on our way back to the ranch, “how many years have we been cutting Charlie’s wheat”? We had to try to recall certain circumstances and who our hired man was at the time to try and figure the answer to that question. We decided it would have to be about 13 or 14 years ago. “Why the tears?”, Jim asks. “Just remembering”, I said. Then the two of us started recalling fun memories of being in Jordan and the people who have become so important to us. And then, we started counting the ones who are no longer here to greet us upon our arrival – Irl, Charlie M., Charlie O., Dale and Roy. A sign of the times, I guess. Sign of getting older when you start thinking about the people who are no longer here. I think the emotions were a little “catching” as I caught a tear fall down the side of Jim’s cheek. One of the best benefits of this job – the people we meet!
We arrived with the final load to Jordan early Wednesday evening. It wasn’t the typical Jordan welcome. More changes. The Graham family has moved from Jordan to Lusk, WY. We used to spend as much time as we could with them while we were here. They used to be one of the first to welcome our return. Pohney has moved from Jordan to Roundup. The girls weren’t here so the cottage wasn’t filled to capacity with their friends. I remember there were times in the past when we’d pull into town and the vehicles would follow us into the trailer court. Not today. Even though we didn’t have the fanfare we’ve had in the past, it was awfully good to be back! As I was cleaning the trailer of the road dirt, I got a text from one of Jenna’s best friends – Angie. She and her kiddo’s were coming into town from Billings and had no idea we were going to be here. She wanted to know if she and the kids could come over for a visit. Most definitely!! Jamie, Jenna and Taylor began their school careers here so they have two sets of classmates to call friends. Angie has been one of those friendships that even the miles can’t create a barrier.
We started cutting yesterday (Thursday). It was a short day and we were still able to get 85 acres cut. The wheat looks like it may have at least a 40 bushel average. It just depends on what we find as we move further north into the field. There were places that I saw the number 80 creep up on the yield monitor. Yep, we’ve sort of changed places here. Jim will be binning the grain and I’ll get to be “Captain Combine” for a little while. It’s good to know the reputation of our work enables us to work on our own again. One thing I’ve come to appreciate about our way of doing things is how we know how to cut a field with a parked truck! If Charlie O. hadn’t passed away earlier this spring, he would have been out here. He and Jim would be sitting in the truck watching the combine go round and round. They’d be enjoying each other’s company and solving the world’s problems. Charlie won’t be with us physically, but he’ll sure be with us in that field – I guarantee!