For anyone who has ever brought in the harvest, you know what that last load means. Harvest time is pay day. It is the time when you finally take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief because, even if the last load of grain isn't inside a grain bin yet, at least it is in a wagon or truck and probably under a roof somewhere.
When I began farming on my own, I learned to appreciate the feeling when the last load was driven out of the field. But there are a few last loads that I recall specifically. This year, as I hauled my last load of corn to town to our local grain elevator, I turned off the highway and onto the street leading to the elevator when a small explosion shook the truck. Dust flew from the dashboard of my truck and I was sure that my engine had blown up. But as I coasted to the curb, I recognized the familiar rumble of a blown tire flying apart as I tried to maneuver the truck out of the path of traffic. Neighbors living near the street peered from their houses to see what had happened. Fortunately, a friend offered me a ride to the service station where they know me a little too well because of rather frequent tire malfunctions.
Looking on the bright side, I was glad that I blew a front, and not a rear tire. I was happy that this had happened in town and not along our narrow driveway on the farm. I was thankful it had happened on the last load of the season and not on the first load of next season.
But I wished that I had been able to dump my load of corn at the elevator first, and that the truck tire had blown out directly in front of the service station on the way home, to save me the hassle.
Oh well, compared to last season, when we barely finished harvesting in time for Christmas, amidst drifts of snow and ice, this season was a breeze. The harvest was plenty. The weather was phenomenal. Grain prices are excellent. I suppose I'll fondly remember this year's harvest and maybe choose to forget this year's last load.