Steve often told the kids stories about visiting his uncle’s farm in the summers of his youth. There were tales about hard work, getting up at dawn and great meals prepared by his aunt.
Stevie’s teacher asked for volunteers for their class trip to the farm and Steve thought it would be a great chance for the “men” to bond. Knowing that farms generally are muddy in the Spring, have fragrant undomesticated animals and work left me out, but I knew that tromping through the muck, semi-milking cows and laughing at livestock was considered great fun for young boys.
On the morning of the trip, the guys dressed in boots and jeans based on the previous two days of thunderstorms. I made sure that they had a hearty farmhand breakfast to send them off and Steve drove over to the bus lot with Junior. Daisy was a little teary-eyed that she couldn’t go but I whispered in her ear about the possibility of a trip to the pharmacy after school for ice cream. She smiled knowingly and drank her juice.
When Daisy and I came home from our treat, I was greeted by a giant pile of muddy pants, shirts and boots at the back door. Steve and Junior must have stripped down to their skivvies when they came home. Daisy went to her room to play and I followed the giggling I heard coming from the bathroom. Steve had little Stevie in the shower. A smaller pile of underwear lay on the floor. They didn’t hear me at the door so I left them to their work to start dinner.
Over pork chops and mashed potatoes, Stevie regaled us with tales from the trip. They went on a hay ride, milked cows, ran with goats and managed to get as dirty as possible. I silently wondered what the clothes of the little girls in the class looked like. Was it possible boys deliberately tried to get as dirty as possible? I threw the farm clothes into a separate wicker basket to try and wash in the morning.
Junior fell asleep easily and after tucking in Daisy, I checked on Steve. Apparently, farm life was tiring. I found Steve sitting up sound asleep in his chair in the den. I guess those tales about working on the farm pertained to visiting them also. I gently lifted Steve’s drink glass from his hand and encouraged him to go to bed. “Sun up” would be here soon enough and he needed to go back to work in the morning.