My parents were self-employed, so when summer came, I was with them all the time. I would go with my dad some days, and he would either be working his drilling rig, helping with the haying or fixing something at the ranch.
I couldn’t wait to go with him all day. Our days would start at a local cafe. When I was really little, we went to Brown’s Cafe. We also went to the Cosgriff for several years, the The Truck Stop, Wallie’s, the Cavvy and now he goes to the Cool Water Grill in the mornings. We always had our coffee and sometimes we would have breakfast there, too.
When the rig was working, I would go with him and he taught me to throw pipe, take dirt samples and grease the rig. This was so much fun for me, and I have no idea why. I’m guess it was just because I got to get really dirty and spent time with my brother and dad. Little did I know, in this process, I learned some work ethic at a young age.
When we hayed — I started at a pretty young age — I got to run the rake. I loved this job. It wasn’t too hard and I got to run the tractor. It made me feel like I was contributing something and made me feel a real sense of responsibility. It was pretty relaxing, too. Except when the occasional grasshopper or wasp went down my shirt. Then it got a little exciting.
There were the days holding the piers, fence stretchers and wire for fence fixing. I wasn’t too fond of this chore. I didn’t like getting caught in the wire, which always seemed to happen. I always tried to go find a horse and get the heck out of Dodge when this came around.
I also enjoyed the days when I learned to drive the standard old Ford truck. I remember we were loading some small bales in the field and I went to shift, but forgot to let up on the clutch and we went flying down the hill for a while and then came to a quick slow down when I remembered what to do. But I learned.
I also remember tipping the truck because I was trying to read my dad’s hand signals and wasn’t watching the road. I ended up in the ditch and then dad’s hands were going crazy. You could see the smoke coming from beneath his cap because he was so mad.
When I took drivers education, Mr. Cortez would have me drive last. He said it was because he could relax with me before he headed home because I already knew how to drive. He’s pretty lucky dad taught me first.
We spent plenty of days at the river swimming and fishing, too. My Aunt Wanda always would take us to this bridge and watch us swim while she and Uncle Wayne would fish. It was so relaxing and fun. Memories of us kids sliding off rocks and into the river will always bring a smile to my face. Having the current carry me until my brother caught me a couple yards down river was always so much fun.
Summer always will bring me so many great memories. Please take time this summer to make some awesome memories with your families. It doesn’t have to be all fun and games. Even those working memories are great ones.